The Guide to Applying to Open and Start a Dispensary To Sell Recreational Retail Cannabis in Ontario
The Ontario government allows licensed, private retail stores to sell cannabis and cannabis accessories in brick and mortar stores. Lawyer Harrison Jordan has experience assisting those who were selected by the AGCO to submit applications to sell cannabis in their proposed retail store.
Whether you are thinking of applying to open a cannabis store in the Greater Toronto Area or not, we can assist. Here are some prime, undeserved areas where we think cannabis retail stores would do best: (Note: Some municipalities may have not not “opted-in” to cannabis retail stores yet).
• Toronto, Ontario
• Guelph, Ontario
• Kitchener, Ontario
• Waterloo, Ontario
• Barrie, Ontario
• Muskoka, Ontario
• Hamilton, Ontario
• Mississauga, Ontario
• Brampton, Ontario
• Dundas, Ontario
• Oshawa, Ontario
• Scarborough, Ontario
• East York, Ontario
• North York, Ontario
• Markham, Ontario
Ontario AGCO Retail Store Authorization and Retail Operator Licence Consultant
The AGCO has held two lotteries to decide who will obtain the opportunity to apply for a Retail Operator licence and a Retail Store Authorization under Ontario’s Cannabis Licence Act, and subsequently sell cannabis and cannabis accessories.
Premier Doug Ford announced in November 2019 that Ontario would move to scrap the pot shop lottery and move to allow an open allotment starting January 2020.
Retail Operator Licence and Retail Store Authorization Application Help
Just like the second lottery, there will likely be some kind of pre-qualification requirements. Be prepared to show the AGCO that you have access to a significant amount of funds, as developing a cannabis store will inevitably reach into the mid 6-digits
Harrison Jordan is a Toronto-based lawyer that focuses exclusively on cannabis matters. He holds multiple clients that have won opportunities from the AGCO to apply to open a store. He has a nuanced understanding of the entire process and can help you from point A to Z.
It can be exciting to start a legal retail cannabis store dispensary, but it’s not all fun and games. There are certain things you have to consider before you get started.
Ontario Retail Operator Licence (ROL)
Capital Requirements to Open – The most important thing to consider. It will cost a lot of money to open a cannabis store. Applications fees on their own can top $10,000 from the AGCO, and in addition to that you will have to spend thousands on obtaining real estate, obtaining security systems, and building the store up to the province’s standards. Expect to require an initial expenditure of between $500,000 to $1,000,000. Can it be done for less? Yes – but be aware it will be a challenge and you may not be able to offer that “Apple Store”-like experience you want your customers to experience
Security Requirements – You will need to adhere to intensive security requirements. The best thing to do for this is to hire a security consultant, who will put together a comprehensive security plan. Your store will need to have continuously monitoring video surveillance on some of the more important areas of your store.
Background Review – If you are an owner, part-owner, director or officer of the applicant, be prepared to file information related to your background and integrity. You will be asked whether you have been charged with any provincial or federal offences or whether you have ever declared bankruptcy, amongst other things. I can help determine whether the AGCO is likely to approve or deny your application for these reasons. The AGCO can refuse a ROL or RSA in the event that the applicant, or a person “interested in” the applicant has demonstrated that there are reasonable grounds to believe that they will not be financially responsible, having regard to their financial history, or that they will not carry on business in accordance with the law, with integrity, honesty or in the public interest, having regard to past or present conduct.
Retail Store Authorization (RSA)
POS and other systems – I have a great relationship with third party vendors that service cannabis retail store owners, such as Point of Sale systems or menu boards. We can determine what we can do within your budget to ensure you have happy customers that keep coming back.
Standard Operating Procedures – I have developed SOPs in collaboration with a top consulting firm in the cannabis industry. I can provide you these SOPs so that the regulator and your staff know exactly how to operate the store.
15-Day Notice Period
After submitting your Retail Store Authorization (RSA) application, your application will proceed to the 15-day notice period. During this period you will have to post a certain notice on the property in which you are establishing your retail store
Under the Cannabis Licence Act, you can have your licence or authorization refused or revoked. It is important you hire a lawyer to ensure that you can challenge any determinations that are adverse to your interests.
Why hire a lawyer?
I’m a Toronto-based lawyer assisting small businesses with applying for their cannabis retail application, including Retail Operator Licence (ROL) and Retail Store Authorization Applications. Call me at 1-855-542-0529 or email me. One reason to call Harrison Jordan? I only focus on cannabis-related matters.