Ontario could see hundreds of weed stores open in April, according to new regulations laid out by the province.
The Progressive Conservatives scrapped the previous Liberal government’s plan for a provincial monopoly on weed stores, and have decided instead to allow for a private system, with stores to open April 1.
The government has now laid out its rules for operators who want to open stores, stating that a single operator can have a maximum of 75 stores, and stores must be 150 metres away from each other and schools. There is no limit to how many pot shops the province will allow in total, opening the door for hundreds if not more than 1,000 come April. The Liberals had planned to open just 40 stores in 2018 with a total of 150 by 2020.
The application process for retail licence will start on December 17. The government previously said licensed producers will only be allowed to operate one retail store in the province.
The rules also state that no one under the age of 19 will be allowed into stores, and the stores must operate as standalone shops.
The province said “cannabis-related criminal offences” could result in a licence being denied, and specified black market dispensary retailers who remained in operation after October 17 will not be given a licence. No one with ties or organized crime will be granted a licence.
Until the stores open, Ontarians are only able to purchase cannabis online via the Ontario Cannabis Store. The online system has been plagued with problems from the start, including major delays on orders, missing orders, poor customer service, mislabelled items, and a privacy breach of customer information.
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