This chapter provides a summary of your cannabis retail requirements under the relevant three pieces of legislation, being the Cannabis Act (federal) the Cannabis Control Act and the Cannabis Licence Act and its regulations. This is meant to be a guide it is not a complete list of all rules and is not legal advice.


To open a retail store and sell recreational cannabis, there are two licences and an authorization that are required from the AGCO. These are:

  • Retail Operator Licence
  • Retail Store Authorization
  • Cannabis Retail Manager Licence

The holders of Retail Operator Licences are called “licensed retail operators”.  To get this licence, you must meet all of the eligibility criteria set out in the Cannabis Licence Act, 2018 and its regulations.

Note: The Government of Ontario has indicated that, due to a shortage of legal cannabis supply from federally licensed producers, it has changed the approach to how private retail stores will be allocated.  The government will allow private cannabis retail stores to open in phases and has provide authority for the AGCO to license up to 25 stores in the initial phase. A lottery system was implemented to determine who would be able to apply for one of the 25 initial stores. Read details about this lottery.

References to “stores” or “retail stores” in this document refers to stores that sell or intend to sell recreational cannabis.  A store that has a Retail Store Authorization is called an “authorized store”.

Individuals who have a Cannabis Retail Manager Licence are called “licensed retail managers”.  Every retail store must have a licensed retail manager.  The only exception is if the licensed retail operator is a sole proprietor or is in a partnership between two or more individuals, and will be both the licensed operator and performing the duties of the retail store manager for a particular store – in which case a Cannabis Retail Manager Licence is not required.

You may not sell cannabis unless you are licensed and authorized by the AGCO, and you have a supply purchase contract with the Ontario Cannabis Retail Store (OCS).  You may only sell cannabis obtained through the OCS. You may not sell cannabis subject to a Health Canada/Licensed Producer recall.

Line of Business: