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The retail cannabis lottery in Ontario kicks off Monday

The number of retail pot shops in Ottawa depends on the number of lottery submissions for the area
Image taken from AGCO twitter

The process for those who are looking to obtain a license to sell retail cannabis begins Monday in Ontario.

The Alcohol and Gaming Commission of Ontario give out 25 retail licences across the province, and only five of those will be in eastern Ontario.

The lottery will be held on Jan 11, but those selected will not automatically get a retail cannabis licence.

"We're starting with this lottery process to qualify people, and to ensure that those who are interested are truly interested, and are able to commit financially," explained Raymond Kahnert, senior communications advisor, AGCO.

The AGCO will draw from expressions of interest submitted between January 7 and 9, and then those who are drawn will be able to apply for a licence.

There is a $75 fee to apply, and those selected will have five business days to turn in a full application along with a $6,000 non-refundable fee, and a $50,000 letter of credit.

"For whatever reason, if they choose not to continue with an application, then...the 26th person, or the next person in the east zone, would have the opportunity to apply," Kahnert told 1310 NEWS.

While five licences will be granted across eastern Ontario, it remains to be seen how many of those shops will be in Ottawa.

The number of stores will depend, in part, on the submissions drawn.

This means Ottawa could see all, or even none of the cannabis stores. 

Here's how the 25 licences will be distributed across the province: 

- Eastern Ontario, including Ottawa, will have five stores.
- Toronto will have six stores.
- The GTA will have five stores.
- The rest of the southern Ontario region, not including Toronto and the GTA, will have a total of seven stores.
- Northern Ontario will have two stores.

Storefront cannabis outlets will be allowed to open in Ontario on April 1st.

If Ottawa doesn't get any of the pot shops, you'll probably have to travel a bit further than Gatineau. Unfortunately, none of Quebec's 12 cannabis retail stores are in that city. 

The Société québécoise du cannabis website says, "Due to the current supply shortages, our stores will be open Thursdays to Sundays only."

It's not known when, or if, Gatineau will get their first retail cannabis store. 


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