Retail Cannabis Licensing

The Ontario Legislature has enacted legislation facilitating the private retailing of cannabis products. The legislated requirements for applications are modeled on retail alcohol sales licensing. The Alcohol and Gaming Commission of Ontario will be processing these applications. Black Sutherland LLP has a long and successful relationship with this agency and will be at the forefront of this developing area.

Often overlooked is the importance of zoning for establishing retail cannabis operations. As a consequence of the presumed illegality of pre-legalization dispensaries, local municipalities have charged, predominately landlords, for permitting this use. Black Sutherland LLP is successfully defending many locations against such charges.

All proposed cannabis retail locations will have to demonstrate that they are in the public interest with tests similar to zoning impacts. With Black Sutherland’s experience in municipal zoning, we are the only law firm that has a proven track record in related licencing and zoning applications and at a fair and competitive fee. Do not be intimidated by the application process or by those suggesting they have all the answers. We are here to help.

Those wishing to become cannabis retailers will need to apply to the AGCO for a retail cannabis licence, secure a location zoned for retail and obtain a retail sales and retail manager’s licence. Black Sutherland LLP can offer comprehensive advice to successfully achieve these permissions. We are developing a client advice and required information package. We are in regular contact with the AGCO and will continue to develop our advice as the process becomes more defined and regulations are published.

Potential retailers should begin to assemble their financial records for disclosure to the AGCO and secure potential retail locations. Black Sutherland LLP can assist in ensuring that the necessary information is on hand for when the application process is opened up.

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