On May 13th, the Ontario Cannabis Store (OCS) announced to authorized cannabis retailers its new plan to allow licensed producers of cannabis to sell directly to cannabis retailers in Ontario. This new “flow-through” program will be introduced by late summer 2021 and will allow cannabis retailers to order products not stocked in the OCS warehouse.
The flow-through program will start with a limited number of SKUs from a select group of cannabis producers and retail stores. Retailers that are part of the program will be able to choose from selected products from the OCS “flow-through catalog”, and the OCS will, as usual, fulfill the purchase order and shipment to retailers. The flow-through program will enable the OCS to offer more products to their increasing number of retailers, such as new SKUs, products that have a short shelf life or are slower-moving, and perhaps even live cannabis plants by winter 2021. It may even allow some retailers to carry unique product offerings, compared to their competitors. The program would also include the opportunity for producers to provide “Store Brand” products that feature a branding element associated with a licensed retailer.
The OCS will operate this program in phases, beginning with the pilot phase starting this summer, and then proceeding with a staggered launch in the fall and winter of 2021. Any products that are listed in the general catalog or the flow-through model, including store brand products, will still be available to all retailers.
In a recent presentation, the OCS mentioned that wholesale orders from authorized cannabis retailers have decreased approximately 30-45% each week. We can only assume that this decline is due to store closures during the pandemic, resulting in less traffic/purchases from retail stores. The OCS has aimed to open 1000 retail stores in Ontario by September 1, 2021. As of recently, the OCS announced that the province currently has 675 authorized stores, with this number growing each passing week.
Interested in Becoming a Cannabis Retailer in Ontario?
Before you can operate a cannabis retail store in Ontario, there are two licenses and an authorization that you will need to obtain from the Alcohol and Gaming Commission of Ontario (AGCO) before you open up shop.
Step one is to apply for a Cannabis Retail Operator Licence (ROL).
Step two is to apply for a Retail Store Authorization (RSA) for each retail location you intend to operate.
Step three is to hire a Retail Manager for your store(s) and ensure they hold a Cannabis Retail Manager Licence. Every cannabis retail store in Ontario must have at least one Licensed Retail Manager. The AGCO has recently announced that Licensed Retail Managers will be able to manage up to five (5) cannabis retail store locations.
After your cannabis retail store has secured all of the necessary licenses and authorizations and passed the necessary inspections, you’ll be ready for opening. At some point in the process, the OCS will reach out to you to set up an OCS wholesale account so that you can start placing orders to stock your store and get ready to serve your community safe and legal cannabis products.
If you’re interested in learning more about how to open a cannabis retail store in Ontario, reach out to the experts at CLE today!
How we can help you
Cannabis License Experts is your solution to preparing, reviewing, and submitting your cannabis retail license application. We offer support from day one of starting your cannabis business, including strategic planning, floor plan preparation, site audits, SOPs, and more.