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A container of cannabis is seen on display at the Hunny Pot, a cannabis store in downtown Toronto, on April 1, 2019.

Fred Lum

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A dozen Ontario cannabis retailers are being financially penalized for failing to open their stores at the beginning of this month.

The Alcohol and Gaming Commission, which held a lottery to determine who could apply for store licences, had previously announced a system of escalating penalties for the province’s 25 cannabis stores if they weren’t able to start serving customers by April 1.

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Stores that missed the deadline would see the commission draw down $12,500 on a $50,000 letter of credit, and would risk losing the entire amount if they still weren’t up and running by the end of the month.

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Only 10 of the province’s cannabis stores were ready for business on last week’s launch date.

The AGCO says it’s drawing down credit from 12 retailers that aren’t open yet, while ruling two others had their openings delayed for reasons beyond their control.

The province’s 25th retail store, chosen from a wait list after an initial lottery winner was disqualified, isn’t expected to start operations until April 28.

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