In order to sell cannabis in Ontario, you must be licensed and authorised by the AGCO. The AGCO has published the Cannabis Retail Regulation Guide to provide information for licencees and applicants.
In order to open a retail store, there are two licences and one authorisation that are required from the AGCO:
- Retail Operator Licence
- Retail Store Authorization
- Cannabis Retail Manager Licence
Retail Operator Licence
Allows for the operation of one or more retail stores in Ontario.
Not eligible for a licence if you are not:
- financially responsible in operating your cannabis business
- you will not operate your cannabis retail business in compliance with the law, or with integrity, honesty or in the public interest
- you will not have sufficient control over the cannabis retail business
License will be denied in the following circumstances:
- Cannabis related criminal offences;
- Illegal cannabis retailers who were operating after October 17, 2018 are not eligible for Ontario cannabis sales licenses;
- Prohibition on licence to any individual or organization who has an association with organised crime. They are either members of a criminal organization, involved with, contributed or contributes to the activities of such an organisation.
- Corporation that has more than 9.9% of owned or controlled directly or indirectly, by one or more licensed producers of their affiliates
Retail Store Authorization
A retail store authorization is required for each and every store; cannot have more 75 retail store authorisations, either on your own, or between you and your affiliates.
Minimum distance between cannabis retail stores and schools (500 feet) – includes both private and public schools; does not apply to private schools on reserves or if it offers classes through the internet.
All private recreational cannabis retail storefronts must be stand-alone stores.
Holder of a retail store authorization may sell cannabis accessories and shopping bags.
A condition of a retail store authorization that the holder not enter into contracts or agreements with any person or entity for the provision of cannabis distribution services.
Cannabis Retail Manager Licence
Every retail store requires a “licensed retail manager” who will be responsible for the cannabis inventory, for hiring and managing employees, and for ensuring the store operates with honesty and integrity at all times.
The only exception is if the licensed retail operator is a sole proprietor or is in partnership between two or more individuals, and both will be the licensed operator and performing the duties of the retail store manager for a particular store.