AGCO News Release

New Lottery to be held for Cannabis Retail Store Authorizations in Ontario. AGCO Releases Details of Pre-Qualification Requirements, Application Process and Timelines

July 3, 2019 – Toronto, ON

NEWS

The Alcohol and Gaming Commission of Ontario (AGCO) has released the pre-qualification requirements, application process and timelines for those who are interested in applying for one of the 50 new cannabis retail store authorizations announced by the Government of Ontario today. Of the 50 new stores, 42 will be allocated by lottery and eight will be available for stores on First Nations reserves.

The AGCO will hold a lottery on August 20, 2019, and announce the results within 24 hours, in order to select applicants who will be notified they may apply for the forty-two (42) store authorizations. Those who wish to participate in the lottery must meet the pre-qualification requirements established by the Government of Ontario, including demonstrating they have the financial capacity to open a cannabis retail store and have secured suitable retail space that could be used for it.

In addition, and separate from the lottery process, eight (8) store authorizations will be available, on a first come, first served basis, for those who wish to operate a store on a First Nations reserve and have Band Council approval to do so.

QUICK FACTS

  • AGCO will hold a new lottery in order to select applicants for 42 cannabis retail store allocations
  • Applicants who wish to participate in this lottery must meet pre-qualification criteria including
    • Confirmation from a bank or credit union that the applicant has the financial capacity to obtain $250,000 in Cash or Cash Equivalents (e.g. bonds, other short-term investments)
    • Confirmation from a bank or credit union that the applicant can obtain a Standby Letter of Credit in the amount of $50,000 within five business days of being notified of their selection by the Registrar
    • Confirmation that the applicant has secured a suitable retail space, including its address, which will be available to them for operating a cannabis retail store no later than October 2019
  • To participate in this lottery, applicants must submit an expression of interest between August 7, 2019 at 12:01 AM and August 9 at 8:00 PM.
  • The draw will take place on August 20, 2019 and the AGCO intends to publish the results of the lottery, including the selected store locations, on its website within 24 hours of the lottery draw
  • It is anticipated that stores will begin to open in October 2019, as they become ready
  • Separate from the lottery process, on July 31, 2019 at 9:00 AM, the AGCO will begin accepting applications from any applicant who has received Band Council approval to operate a store on its First Nations reserve. Eight such store authorizations will be available, on a first come, first served basis
  • See the Fact Sheet below for more details

Additional Information

Media Contact:

Raymond Kahnert

Senior Advisor, Communications

media@agco.ca

416 326-3202

 

About the AGCO

The Alcohol and Gaming Commission of Ontario (AGCO) is an Ontario provincial regulatory agency reporting to the Ministry of the Attorney General (MAG). The agency was established on February 23, 1998 under the Alcohol, Cannabis and Gaming Regulation and Public Protection Act, 1996.

The AGCO is responsible for regulating the alcohol, lottery and gaming, horse racing and private cannabis retail sectors in accordance with the principles of honesty and integrity, and in the public interest.

 

FACT SHEET

Lottery for the Allocation of 42 Store Authorizations

  • Ontario Regulation 468/18 establishes the number of new retail store authorizations to be allocated within each region of the province as follows:
    • East Region: 7 stores
    • GTA Region: 6 stores
    • Toronto Region: 13 stores
    • West Region: 11 stores
    • North Region: 5 stores, one in each of Kenora, North Bay, Sault Ste. Marie, Thunder Bay and Timmins
  • The AGCO will select applicants by lottery and notify them that they may apply for a Retail Operator Licence and a Retail Store Authorization. The AGCO will only license operators and authorize stores if they meet all legal and regulatory requirements
  • To participate in this lottery, applicants will be required to meet certain prequalification requirements. Applicants will have five (5) weeks to meet the pre-qualification requirements, which include:
    • Proof of Financial Capacity
      • Submission of a Letter of Confirmation from a bank or credit union confirming the Applicant has the financial capacity to obtain $250,000 in Cash or Cash Equivalents (e.g. bonds, other short-term investments). The AGCO will not hold these funds. This Letter of Confirmation will serve as proof that the applicant will have access to funds as they prepare to open and operate their stores, if they are selected 
      • Submission of a Letter of Confirmation from a bank or credit union confirming the Applicant can obtain a Standby Letter of Credit in the amount of $50,000 within five days of being notified of their selection by the Registrar. Only applicants who are selected in the lottery will be required to actually obtain the Letter of Credit, which will be held by the AGCO and drawn upon in cases of lottery rule violations. 
    • Proof of Having Secured Retail Space
      • Confirmation that the applicant has secured a suitable retail space, including its address, which will be available to them for operating a cannabis retail store no later than October 2019. While there is no set date on which this second allocation of stores must be open, operators must begin selling cannabis under their store authorization within one year of having been issued it.
      • The proposed retail space must be more than 150 meters from a school and in a municipality that has not opted out of having cannabis retail stores
  • Lottery Process
    • To participate in this lottery, Applicants
      • must submit an Expression of Interest (EOI) Application online at www.agco.ca/iAGCO, during a specified window of time (see Timelines, below)
      • may separately submit up to one EOI Application per region. For the North Region, applicants may only apply for one of the five cities listed within that Region
      • must upload all the required prequalification documents for each region they are applying for. Applicants may use the same bank documents for multiple EOI Applications but will be required to have secured retail space for each Region for which they are applying 
    • After the draw, each Region will have a list of selected applicants and a list of wait list applicants, placed in the order in which their EOI was drawn. Applicants on the wait list will be moved to the selected list if those ahead of them are found to be ineligible for a licence/authorization or are otherwise disqualified
    • The AGCO will once again employ a third-party fairness monitor to monitor the lottery process to assess whether it is conducted fairly.
    • In the future, if the Government proceeds with additional retail store allocations rather than moving to an open marketplace, any such allocations may be based on the results from this lottery
  • Lottery Timelines
    • Applicants must submit their Expression of Interest Application(s) online between August 7, 2019 at 12:01 AM (EDT) and August 9, 2019 at 8:00 PM (EDT)
    • The draw will take place on August 20, 2019 and the AGCO intends to publish the results of the lottery, including the selected store locations, on its website within 24 hours of the lottery draw
  • Allocation of Store Authorizations
    • Once notified of their selection in the lottery, Applicants will be notified that they may apply for their Retail Operator Licence and Retail Store Authorization and will be required to do so within five business days
    • The AGCO will continue to protect the public interest by only licensing operators and authorizing stores if they meet all legal and regulatory requirements
    • Once authorized by the AGCO, operators will enter into supply agreements with the Ontario Cannabis Store
    • It is anticipated that stores will begin to open starting in October 2019, as they are ready

Allocation of Eight (8) Store Authorizations on First Nations Reserves

  • The AGCO has established a separate allocation process for the eight store authorizations that will be on First Nations reserves
  • As of July 31, 2019 at 9:00 AM, the AGCO will begin accepting applications from any applicant who wishes to operate a store on a First Nations reserve
  • Store authorizations will be allocated on a first come, first served basis as determined by the time of their submission of a complete, online application to the AGCO
  • A complete application must include a resolution from the First Nations Band Council approving the location of the proposed store in their community
  • The AGCO will publish to its website the name of the applicants and First Nations reserves on which stores have been approved, along with the order of any completed applications received after the first eight stores have been allocated.
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