On July 3, 2019, the Government of Ontario announced its plans for a second allocation of cannabis retail store authorizations. The allocation allowed for the authorization of up to 26 stores on First Nations reserves. On July 31, 2019, the AGCO began accepting applications from applicants who wished to operate a store on a First Nations reserve. For more information, see Results of Allocation Process for Cannabis Stores on First Nations Reserves.
On December 12, 2019, the Government of Ontario announced its move towards an open market for private cannabis retail in Ontario and related amendments to Ontario Regulation 468/18 made under the Cannabis Licence Act, 2018. As a result, the AGCO modified the application process for cannabis retail licensing. These changes, which are being introduced in stages to align with the timelines established by the government, will not impact the process for those who completed a Retail Store Authorization Intent to Apply-First Nations Reserve application before August 1, 2019. If eligible, the AGCO will license these applicants and authorize their stores as soon as those processes are completed.
As of January 6, 2020, the First Nations reserve allocation process has ended and the AGCO is accepting Retail Operator Licence applications from any interested applicant. However, the restriction on the total number of store authorizations permitted in Ontario and their regional distribution will be maintained until March 2, 2020. For more information, view the Application Process for a Cannabis Retail Store on a First Nations Reserve.
As of March 2, 2020, the restrictions on the total number of store authorizations permitted in the province, and their regional distribution, will be revoked. The AGCO will begin accepting applications for Retail Store Authorizations from all interested applicants. Applicants who wish to operate a cannabis retail store on a First Nation reserve will still require a signed Band Council Resolution approving the store location. The public notice process is not required for stores on First Nations reserves.
For more information on the laws, regulation, eligibility requirements and licensing and application process for recreational cannabis retail stores in Ontario, see the Cannabis Retail Regulation Guide.