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December 13, 2019

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  Ontario to scrap lottery, open up cannabis retail system to increase number of retail stores

Mark Rendell

Cannabis Professional Reporter
Ontario is scrapping the lottery system it used to award cannabis retail licences and changing to an open licensing model, a move that will vastly expand the number of retail stores in Canada’s largest province and could help the pot industry compete with the black market.

Starting in April, the Alcohol and Gaming Commission of Ontario (AGCO) will award approximately 20 new licenses a month, with no cap on the total number in the province. The licenses will be given out on a first-come, first-served basis, similar to how Alberta issues private retail licenses, with individual companies eventually allowed to own up to 75 stores.

“By the end of the year we’ll probably have an aggregate total of 250 [stores], in that range, and then we’ll see what the market is doing,” Ontario Attorney-General Doug Downey said in an interview.

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