Ontario Cannabis Retail Licensing

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How to Obtain a Cannabis Retail Licence In Ontario

The Ontario Cannabis Retail Corporation (OCRC), operating as the Ontario Cannabis Store (OCS), is the exclusive wholesaler of cannabis in Ontario to authorized private retail stores. This means that private retailers can only purchase cannabis products (e.g. dried flower, extracts, vapes, edibles, topicals, etc.) from the OCS.
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Retail Operator Licence Application (ROL)

The first step to opening a cannabis retail store in Ontario is to apply for a Retail Operator Licence (ROL). The ROL application requires applicants to submit items such as constituting documents (certificate of incorporation, shareholder ledger, etc.), details on the sources of funding to be used for start-up/inventory costs, information to permit background checks (on applicants, and any affiliated or interested parties in the business, as needed), financial statements and tax documents, as well as a Tax Compliance Verification number (to ensure no delinquencies related to tax filings).

Retail Store Authorization Application (RSA)

The next step after submitting an ROL application is to apply for a Retail Store Authorization (RSA) for each retail location you intend to open. The RSA is a store specific application and covers areas such as store and site design (and applicable security provisions), proof of ownership/tenancy, municipality approval and distance from schools.

To apply for an RSA, you must either hold a valid ROL issued by the AGCO or have submitted an application for an ROL with the AGCO. Applications for both an RSA and ROL can be submitted at the same time, but the ROL will be issued before the RSA is granted. Applicants are permitted to apply for up to 75 RSAs per ROL.

After your ROL and RSA applications have been submitted, the next step is the public notice process and store inspections by the AGCO. The public notice process involves posting a placard at the location of the proposed retail store location for 15 calendar days to allow the general public to provide feedback and comments.

Prior to a RSA being issued and your cannabis retail store opening for business, the store location will be inspected by an AGCO Compliance Official on two separate occasions to confirm that all eligibility and store-specific requirements are met.

Finally, in order to ensure the responsible sale of cannabis, there must be at least one licensed Cannabis Retail Manager for each authorized store location. A Cannabis Retail Manager licence is required by the manager of each retail store location and/or any individuals who wish to perform one or more of the following functions in a cannabis retail store:

  • Supervising or managing employees of a cannabis retail store;
  • Overseeing or coordinating the sale of cannabis;
  • Managing compliance issues in relation to the sale of cannabis;
  • Having signing authority to purchase cannabis, enter into contracts or make offers of employment.

Cannabis License Experts can prepare all of the necessary licences and authorization applications (ROL, RSA and Retail Manager Licences) that are required to open a retail store and sell recreational cannabis in Ontario.

Ontario Government Application Fees

The provincial application fees which are due upon submission of each of the licence/authorization applications will add up to approximately $10,000 and cover a 2-year term. The non-refundable provincial application fees are as follows:
  • Retail Operator Licence – $6,000
  • Retail Store Authorization – $4,000
  • Cannabis Retail Manager Licence – $750

How Cannabis License Experts Can License Your Retail Store

Cannabis License Experts has extensive experience preparing and submitting Retail Operator Licence applications, Retail Store Authorizations as well as Cannabis Retail Manager Licence applications filing over 50 cannabis retail licence applications.   Our company will provide support beyond licensing, including:

  • Preparation of Standard Operating Procedures
  • Answering questions from AGCO during application review
  • Conducting routine site inspections to ensure that you are compliant with AGCO requirements.
  • site plan assistance
  • municipal zoning, planning and variation
  • commercial real estate search
  • POS system setup
  • Business insurance
  • Store design and renovation assistance
cannabis retail license

UPDATE: AGCO announced on February 16, 2021 that they will now be licensing 120 stores per month. That means FASTER LICENSING of cannabis retail stores in Ontario.

With our experience and network in cannabis retail licensing we are the partner you are seeking for your cannabis retail licence business to comply and thrive. Get licensed FASTER than ever before!

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