Processing Times

  • The AGCO has a dedicated cannabis licensing team to work with Retail Operator Licence, Retail Store Authorization and Cannabis Retail Store Manager applicants.
  • Applications must be submitted online through the iAGCO portal and include all the required information.
  • Circumstances that will delay issuance of a Retail Operator Licence include:
    • Higher risk applicant eligibility factors requiring closer inspection (e.g. criminal, financial and other applicant/affiliate background considerations). For more information, please see the Cannabis Retail Licences and Authorization section of this guide
    • Complex corporate structure
    • Incomplete application submissions requiring multiple discussions with the applicant. For more information, please see the Application Process section of this guide
    • Applicant delays in responding to the AGCO when it requests clarifications or further information
    • Applicant delays in providing the AGCO with fully executed agreements with third parties and disclosure information on all parties with an interest in the business
  • Circumstances that will delay issuance of a Retail Store Authorization include:
    • Incomplete application submissions requiring multiple discussions with the applicant
    • Applicant delays in responding to the AGCO when it requests clarifications or further information
    • High volume of written submissions received through the public notice process
    • The store is not ready for pre-authorization inspection
    • The store does not meet pre-authorization inspection requirements.
  • Please note that the Retail Store Authorization application will not be approved if it is in a municipality that has opted out of having cannabis retail stores.

 

Licence Holder Responsibilities

For complete details about your legal responsibilities as a licence holder, refer to the Cannabis Licence Act, 2018 and its regulations which is available online or by contacting Publications Ontario at 416-326-5300 or toll-free at 1-800-668-9938.

 

Municipal Requirements

Prior to applying for a Retail Store Authorization, please check with your local municipality to ensure that your premises meets municipal requirements for retail stores and that it is not a municipality that has opted out of cannabis retail sales.   

 

Public Notice

Once a complete Retail Store Authorization application is received by AGCO:

  1. The applicant will be notified, via iAGCO, that they have 24 hours to post a placard at the location of the proposed retail store location.  The placard must be posted for 15 calendar days and it will indicate that an application has been submitted for a cannabis retail store at that location.
  2. All cannabis Retail Store Authorization applications that are undergoing the public notice process will be searchable on the AGCO’s iAGCO portal.

After the Public Notice period has ended, the AGCO will provide the Applicant with copies of any written submissions received from local residents and from the municipality as a result of the Public Notice Process in response to the application. Authorization applicants will have five (5) calendar days to provide a written response to the Registrar related to any written submissions received from local residents and/or the municipality and the Registrar will consider the applicant’s response, if any.

  • Relevant submissions are limited to the following matters of public interest:
    • Protecting public health & safety
    • Protecting youth and restricting their access to cannabis
    • Preventing illicit activities in relation to cannabis.

For more information on the Public Notice process, please see the Public Notice for a Cannabis Retail Store Authorization section of this guide.

 

Application Process for Operating a Cannabis Retail Store on a First Nations Reserve

To operate a retail store and sell recreational cannabis in a store on a First Nations reserve, you must apply for a Retail Operator Licence and a Retail Store Authorization.

  • You may only apply for a cannabis Retail Operator Licence and a Retail Store Authorization if you submitted a complete Retail Store Authorization application online form through iAGCO and were one of the applications selected in the first come, first served process.

To be eligible to obtain a Retail Store Authorization, Applicants for a cannabis retail store to be located on a First Nations reserve must demonstrate that the Band Council has approved the location of the prospective cannabis retail store.

A Band Council Resolution must:

  • Be uploaded as a requirement to complete the Retail Store Authorization Intent to Apply
  • Approve the location of the store on the reserve

To receive a Retail Operator Licence or Retail Store Authorization for a cannabis retail store to be located on a First Nations reserve, a prospective operator must also meet all the requirements of the Cannabis Licence Act

For more information about the application process for operating a cannabis retail store on a First Nations reserve, please see the Application Process for a Cannabis Retail Store on a First Nations Reserve web page.

 

Fees and Payment

Licence and Authorization Fees

  1. Fee
    • You must pay the required fee when you first apply for a cannabis retail-related licence or authorization.
    • The fees for a Retail Operator Licence, for a Retail Store Authorization or for a Cannabis Retail Manager Licence are for a two-year period, after which time you will have to renew them. 
    • Fees paid are generally non-refundable, but the AGCO may consider refunds on a case-by-case basis Once an application is under review, the AGCO may in some cases charge additional investigation fees depending on the complexity of the background checks and investigations required.
  2. Renewal Fee
    • If you wish to continue operating your business or being employed as a retail manager, you will have to pay a renewal fee before your licence or authorization expires.
    • The renewal fee covers some of the ongoing costs of regulation, which includes activities such as inspection, and customer service support.
    • When you renew, you can select a two-year or four-year renewal term for any of the three licence or authorization types. There is no difference in the overall cost per year.
    • Fees paid are generally non-refundable, but the AGCO may consider refunds on a case-by-case basis.

Fee Payment

  • When using online services, all payments under $30,000 must be made by Visa, MasterCard, Interac Online, Visa Debit or MasterCard Debit.
  • Payments of $30,000 or more must be made by money wire transfer or electronic funds transfer. For more information, please contact AGCO Customer Service at 416-326-8700 or 1-800-522-2876.
  • Cheques and cash are not accepted as forms of payment when using iAGCO online services. Also, please note that the Bank of Montreal no longer offers Interac online payment service. For more information, please contact your BMO branch or the telephone number on the back of your card. For a list of participating financial Institutions, please visit Interac Online for Consumers).
  • All application fees must be received by the AGCO before an application will be processed.
  • Fees paid are generally non-refundable, but the AGCO may consider refunds on a case-by-case basis
  • Additional fees may be required for investigations.

For more information, visit the Fees and Payment section of this guide.

Important Notice

  • Each statement made in your application is subject to verification.
  • Expression of Interest Applicants selected in the Lottery who apply for a licence:
    • Must use the same legal name and applicant type identified on the Expression of Interest Application in their Retail Operator Licence Application; and,
    • Are not permitted to change their applicant type, ownership and/or corporate structure in such a way that would result in a change of control of the Expression of Interest Applicant or licensee during the Lottery Process.
  • It is a serious matter to knowingly provide false information on the forms and on any attachments. The provision of false, incomplete, or misleading information or the omission of information on the forms or in the documents submitted with your application, or the failure to notify the Alcohol and Gaming Commission of Ontario of any material changes to this information which occur after this application is filed, may also result in the refusal, suspension or revocation of your licence.
  • If you require assistance with your application, please contact AGCO Customer Service at 416-326-8700 or 1-800-522-2876

The Ontario Cannabis Store

The Ontario Cannabis Retail Corporate (OCRC), operating as the Ontario Cannabis Store (OCS), is the exclusive wholesaler of cannabis in Ontario to authorized private retail stores. Private retailers can only purchase cannabis from the OSC.  Retail store operators will be required to enter into a wholesale supply agreement with the OCS in order to begin purchasing cannabis for resale in their authorized stores. 

Retail store operators should contact the OCS once they have been issued their Retail Operators Licence from the AGCO.  For more information, visit www.oscwholesale.ca or call 1-888-910-0627.

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