There are some places where you cannot open a cannabis retail store. More information about those rules is provided below.
Ontario municipalities had a one-time option to opt out of having cannabis retail stores in their communities. They had until January 22, 2019 to notify the AGCO that their council had taken a resolution to opt out of having cannabis retail stores. Municipalities that choose to opt out can opt back in at any time—but once they have opted in, they may not reverse their decision.
Therefore, cannabis retail stores cannot be located in a municipality that has passed a resolution prohibiting cannabis retail stores from being located in the municipality.
- If a municipality decided not to allow cannabis retail stores, they must have informed the AGCO about their decision by January 22, 2019.
- The AGCO has a list of municipalities that have decided not to allow cannabis retail stores on its website.
- If you applied for a Retail Store Authorization before January 22, 2019, and the municipality where you want to open the store notified the AGCO it will not allow cannabis retail stores, the AGCO will not issue you a Retail Store Authorization for that store, even if you meet all other eligibility requirements.
In addition, there are allocation rules that apply to the first 25 stores the AGCO is able to authorize, which will distribute these 25 stores among the following five regions in Ontario, as follows:
- six (6) stores in the Greater Toronto Area Region (which includes the following census divisions: Durham, York, Peel, and Halton)
- five (5) in the Toronto Region which means the Toronto census divisions
- seven (7) in the West Region (which includes the following census divisions: Dufferin, Wellington, Hamilton, Niagara, Haldimand-Norfolk; Brant, Waterloo, Perth, Oxford, Elgin, Chatham-Kent, Essex, Lambton, Middlesex, Huron, Bruce, Grey, Manitoulin).
- five (5) in the East Region (which includes the following census divisions: Stormont, Dundas and Glengarry, Prescott and Russell, Ottawa, Leeds and Grenville, Lanark, Frontenac, Lennox and Addington, Hastings, Prince Edward, Northumberland, Peterborough, Kawartha Lakes, Simcoe, Muskoka, Haliburton, Renfrew).
- two (2) in the North Region (which includes the following census divisions: Nipissing, Parry Sound, Sudbury, Greater Sudbury, Timiskaming, Cochrane, Algoma, Thunder Bay, Rainy River, Kenora).
The first 25 cannabis retail stores may only be located in a municipality that has a minimum population of 50,000 people.
First Nations Reserve:
Under the temporary allocation system, no licences will be issued to operators who wish to operate a store on reserve land initially. This will allow for more time for the province to engage and have discussions with First Nations on what on-reserve approaches work best.
A cannabis retail store cannot be located near a school or private school, as defined in the Education Act, if the proposed retail store is less than 150 metres away from the property line of the school or private school. This will be determined as follows:
- when the school or private school is the primary or only occupant of a building, 150 metres shall be measured from the property line of the property on which the school or private school is located.
- When the school or private school is not the primary or only occupant of a building, 150 meters shall be measured from the boundary of any space occupied by the school or private school within the building.
(The above rules do not apply if the private school is located on a reserve or if the private school only offers classes through the Internet.)
Please refer to the Education Act for further details and definitions on what is considered a school or private school.