Cannabis Retail Stores Penalized an Additional $25,000 for Not Opening by April 30 – LPC
Seven Ontario cannabis retail stores penalized for not opening by April 30 will forfeit an additional $25,000. That brings the total for all seven to $50,000 in fines – the full amount provided to the Alcohol and Gaming Commission of Ontario (AGCO) in letters of credit.
The Ontario government announced in December that 25 cannabis retail licences would be made available through a province-wide lottery. However, only 10 stores opened on April 1, the target date the province set. There were eleven cannabis retail stores penalized $25,000 earlier this month for not being open by April 15.
The 10 retail cannabis stores that did open on April 1 had roaring sales, averaging over $50,000 in sales the first day.
A location in London, Ont. under the Tweed banner is one of the stores yet to open. Listed as an Ontario numbered company, it still has not received store authorization for the AGCO. There are five outlets – or 20 per cent of the total number of licence winners – that still must meet authorization. That’s the second-last step before a final inspection and then opening. Owners, managers, and employees must also receive their CannSell certification before working.
After authorization, another clock starts – the location has 12 months to open. Cannabis retail stores penalized at that point essentially amounts to having their licence pulled.
“The process of eligibility review and licensing continues,” said AGCO spokesperson Raymond Kahnert. “If it is determined an applicant is not eligible, the next name on the waiting list would be invited to apply (for the retail licence),” spokesperson wrote in an email.
Renewed Criticism from Some About Lottery Process – LPC
The Ontario Public Service Employees Union (OPSEU) reacted harshly when the latest list of cannabis retail stores penalized was announced.
“If the premier had stuck to the previous government’s plan to leave cannabis sales in the hands of the LCBO, we would have had dozens of stores open last fall,” said OPSEU president Warren Thomas. “Instead we have a bunch of fly-by-night operators who are totally unreliable, picked through some half-baked lottery.”
Others have expressed frustration in the past about the way the lottery was held. The main point of contention was that there was no regard for the experience level of each applicant. Considering that no cannabis or retail experience was necessary to apply, perhaps it’s not a surprise that there were over 25 per cent of cannabis retail stores penalized.
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