On Thursday, Ontario announced that it will relax the system for who is allowed to open a cannabis store, abandoning a contentious lottery-based system and lifting the cap on the number of store licences.

The change will allow Ontario to have whatever number of cannabis stores the market will bear — eventually.

 What happens now?

There are three important dates:

  • On January 6, 2020provincial regulators will start accepting applications from people who want to be licenced retailers. This stage is about screening individuals. People with certain cannabis-related convictions, or known connections with organized crime, will be turned down. They will also have to complete training approved by the regulator.
  • People who pass this stage can then apply to open a cannabis store at a specific address after March 2, 2020. The store locations may or may not be approved; they have to be at least a certain distance from schools, and there’s a period in which community members can file objections.
  • Starting in April, regulators expect to start to issue store licences at the rate of about 20 a month.