Ontario to ramp up the pace of cannabis store authorizations

With more than 940 applications awaiting processing, AGCO now issuing 30 Retail Store Authorizations per week.

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The Alcohol and Gaming Commission of Ontario, the organization responsible for regulating cannabis retail in Ontario, will begin issuing 30 cannabis Retail Store Authorizations per week.

The AGCO announced the changes in a blog post earlier this week.

The agency has already increased the pace of RSAs in recent months. In December, the AGCO said it would double its approval pace, and went from issuing 40 RSAs per month to 80.

In the most recent announcement, the AGCO says it will now issue 120 RSAs per month.

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The AGCO says it is contacting retail applicants to advise them of their new anticipated issuance date.

The agency has received more than 1,640 RSA applications to date and has issued 489 RSAs, with another 940 applications awaiting processing.

There are currently 430 cannabis retails stores operating across Ontario.

In comparison to booze, there are more than 2,000 alcohol retailers in Ontario, including 450 grocery stores that sell beer and cider, 450 Beer Stores, more than 660 LCBO’s and 280 LCBO Convenience Outlets, in addition to craft brewers.

The AGCO says it continues to receive dozens of new applications each week and has developed a Cannabis Retailer Licensing Journey Map so potential retailers can better understand the process and anticipated timelines.

For the time being, Alberta continues to lead the nation in store count, with more than 500 cannabis retailers operating across the province.

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