Ontario approaches 900 cannabis Retail Operator License applications

Ontario’s cannabis regulator has received nearly 900 Retail Operator License (ROL) applications for marijuana stores since it opened up the process to all comers on Jan. 6.

That figure, provided to Marijuana Business Daily by the Alcohol and Gaming Commission of Ontario (AGCO), represents roughly 100 more ROL applications than the regulator had received as of Feb. 28.

Applying for an ROL is the first step for businesses seeking to open a licensed cannabis store in Ontario and determines whether a store operator meets provincial eligibility criteria for operating cannabis retailers.

The next step involves Retail Store Authorization (RSA) applications, which deal with the particulars of a physical cannabis store such as location, layout and security plans.

AGCO started accepting those applications in early March.

Store candidates who have received or applied for an ROL may currently apply for up to 10 RSAs.

AGCO has temporarily stopped issuing RSAs during the COVID-19 pandemic, although ROLs and Manager Licenses are still being issued.

The regulator “will continue processing store authorization applications and conducting eligibility assessments to the extent possible, so businesses will be prepared to move forward once restrictions are lifted,” a spokesman wrote in a statement to MJBizDaily.

AGCO has issued 423 Retail Operator Licenses and 59 Retail Store Authorizations to date, according to the spokesman.

January cannabis sales in Ontario surpassed 37 million Canadian dollars ($26 million), according to the latest sales data from Statistics Canada.