The inspection is one of the final steps before you are issued a Retail Store Authorization that permits you to sell cannabis to the public.
Prior to the RSA being issued and the cannabis store opening, your premises will need to be inspected by an AGCO inspection to ensure requirements have been met.
The owner or cannabis retail manager needs to be available because the AGCO inspector will be contacting them to arrange the inspection and to ask any questions they might have.
There are certain things you need to make sure are complete or in order for you to have a successful Pre-Authorization Inspection:
• Public Notice Period – You must have at least started the public notice placard period — an inspection cannot happen until at least the first day the notice is posted. The placard period is a 15 day period in which the public will have the ability to send in any objections they have to your location. You will receive a digital copy of the 8.5″ x 11″, purple-coloured placards and you must post them in several places that are visible to public, such as your front window. The AGCO can only consider comments that relate to three different areas:
- Protecting public health and safety;
- Protecting youth and restricting their access to cannabis;
- Preventing illicit activities in relation to cannabis.
The AGCO can use objections as the basis for rejecting your application. I have only seen this happen in one instance, and the chance that this happens is low.
• Location – the inspector will make sure that the address on the RSA application matches the actual address of the premises.
• Product Visibility – This one is important. You must ensure that cannabis products or accessories will not be viewable from any vantage point outside the store (even with the door open). While some stores choose to use tinted material on the front window glass, some other stores instead do not use tinted glass but make it so that the showroom is only accessible once you enter the front of the premises and enter a corridor.
• Video Surveillance – You must have a working high-res video surveillance system capturing most of the premise’s physical areas, and video recordings must be made and kept for at least 30 days. This includes:
- Entrances and exits, including where IDs are checked
- Pick up area(s) for cannabis purchased online or by telephone
- Point of sale area(s)
- Receiving area(s)
- Sales floor area(s)
- Cannabis storage area(s).
• Storage – All products must be stored securely from the time cannabis procuts are received to the point of sale, destructiona nd return to the OCS.
• Other Businesses – Your premises must have walls and doors that seperate it from any other business. The store can’t be “entered from or passed through” in order to access any other commercial establishment unless it is a common area of an enclosed shopping mall.
• Store Management – Each store needs to have at least one Licensed Retail Manager, and you might be asked to provide the manager’s licence on request from the Inspector.
• Unauthorized Access – All windows, doors and other access points to the store must be secure and protect against unauthorized access.
• Entry of Minors – You cannot let minors enter the store or anyone under the age of 19, and must ID any patrons who look under 25 years of age to demonstrate that they are in fact at least 19 years of age.
• Record Keeping Matters – You are required to keep records on your employees, the cannabis in your store, the cannabis you destroy, and for any cannabis that you display.
Harrison Jordan is a cannabis lawyer assisting AGCO ROL and RSA applicants through their inspection and placard period process. Interested applicants have fill out the form on this page or reach Harrison through his office at +1.647.371.0032.
What is a Pre-Authorization Inspection for cannabis?
This inspection is conducted by an AGCO inspector and is scheduled some time after the Public Notice placard begins. The inspector will ensure your store is compliant with the Cannabis Licence Act and the Registrar Standards for cannabis retail set by the AGCO.
Can I fail the Public Notice Placard Period?
I have only seen one instance in which a store was refused their RSA based on Public Notice Period submissions: there were dozens of submissions and the AGCO believed that a new school had already opened up next door to the location. While the risk is small, you should ensure your cannabis store is not located near sensitive uses such as child care centres and community centres. Your store must be at least 150m away from the property line of the nearest school.
What if the AGCO refuses my RSA application?
The AGCO’s decision to refuse an RSA licence is final and there is no appeals process. However, you can file an application for judicial review with the Superior Court of Justice. However, it should be noted that this is a tough process and that judgment likely won’t be made in your favour: you have to demonstrate that the AGCO acted unreasonably.