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  • Writer's pictureTed Ohashi

Ontario having a hard time opening cannabis dispensaries

Just as British Columbia is ordering cannabis dispensaries to close, Ontario is having a hard time opening them. On June 8, 2018, Doug Ford’s Conservatives unseated the incumbent Liberals and was staring down the throat of legalization on October 17th. The good news was they had campaigned on allowing dispensaries to be privately owned and operated. This was a reversal of the previous administration that planned a government owned approach.

By August 13, 2018, it was clear that the required legislation would not be ready on time so the government announced that on October 17th, only online sales would be allowed in Ontario and bricks and mortar outlets would not open until April 1, 2019. However, there was also the promise that the number of storefront dispensaries would not be limited by government.

Now Ontario says it will only issue 25 dispensary licenses for stores to open on April 1st because of “severe supply shortages.” In January 2018, the Alcohol and Gaming Commission of Ontario will implement a lottery system to determine who will receive the initial 25 licenses.

I’m a little concerned about the extent of the supply shortages. Either provincial buyers issued Purchase Orders to Licensed Producers that they know couldn’t fulfill their commitment or something changed and I am worried it is the infestations mentioned in the Hindenburg Report.

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