So you’ve submitted your Retail Store Authorization application and you’ve received an email from the Alcohol and Gaming Commission of Ontario (AGCO) with dates for your public notice period for your proposed cannabis retail store. This means it is now time for public notification.
What You Need To Do
Public notification is the mechanism that informs residents of the municipality of the intent to open a cannabis retail store and provides the opportunity for matters of public interest to be communicated to the Registrar. The process involves three activities: a notice period, a response period, and an AGCO inspection.
For fifteen (15) calendar days, you are required to post the Public Notice placard visibly on the proposed storefront. Although the AGCO provides the Public Notice placard via email, you are responsible for:
- printing both English and French notices in colour on 8 ½” x 11’ paper; and,
- physically displaying the Public Notice at the proposed retail store.
It is important that you post the placard in a manner that makes it visible to the general public during the duration of the posting period. Aside from the name, location and file number of your proposed store, the placard contains the deadline for submissions, and how local residents or the municipality can file a submission.
Within ten (10) business days after the end of the notification period, the AGCO will send you copies of submissions regarding your application for a cannabis Retail Store Authorization. You will have five days (5) after you received the copies from the Registrar to provide written responses to the submissions. Keep in mind that the written submissions and your responses are considered by the Registrar in the final decision on the issuance of your RSA. When crafting your response(s), make sure you impart how your retail store:
- does not pose risk to public health and safety;
- does not endanger youth and their access to cannabis is restricted; and,
- does not promote or engage in illicit activities in relation to cannabis.
With the exception of retail stores on First Nations reserves, public notification is required for every cannabis retail store application. As public notification is mandatory, AGCO may have a Compliance Officer visit the proposed store to confirm compliance. Non-compliance can delay the processing of your application, and additional reporting may be imposed by the province.
How We Can Help
Public notification is a critical element in the decision by the Registrar on whether to issue or to refuse a Cannabis Retail Store Authorization. It is important you are aware of what to expect and what is required. Our team at Cannabis License Experts (CLE) can assist you in navigating provincial requirements for retail store submissions including business plans, floor plans, SOPs, inspections and more!