The Alcohol and Gaming Commission of Ontario has disqualified 12 applicants who, through a recent lottery, had won the right to apply for one of the next 42 cannabis retail licenses in Ontario.
The AGCO, which regulates the cannabis retail sector in Ontario, disqualified the dozen applicants because they had failed to submit required documents by the Aug. 28 deadline. Another applicant withdrew.Join the Leafly Canada CommunityThree of the disqualified applicants listed addresses on the same street in Innisfil, Ont., a small town 100 kilometres north of Toronto: Ronen Ackerman, German Olga, and Ilum Uzunova.
One of those individuals shares a surname with another disqualified applicant. Ekram Uzunova listed an address in Oshawa, Ont., 60 kilometres east of Toronto.
The Globe and Mail referred to the cluster of Innisfil applicants in a recent editorial that also stated there’s a perception “the system was gamed by deep-pocketed applicants working to exploit loose rules.”
One of the lottery winners who was not disqualified is thought to be the son of one of the co-founders of Aphria, one of Canada’s biggest licensed producers.
More than 4,800 applications were submitted to the AGCO. Each applicant was required to provide a letter of credit for $50,000 and proof that he or she had secured a retail space.
The AGCO toughened requirements after the first lottery, which was held in January, drew criticism. Only 25 winners were selected and most of them had no experience with cannabis or retail.
The applicants who were disqualified or withdrew from the recent lottery are being replaced by those on the waiting list.
The 29 applicants who were not disqualified on Aug. 28 must now go through a process that includes police and background checks.
Each applicant that is successful will attain a retail operator license and a retail store authorization. Before each store opens it will have to undergo an inspection that covers everything from security to signage.
As of now there are 24 legal cannabis stores in operation in Ontario—13 of them are in the Greater Toronto and Hamilton area.
Of those 13, five are located in Toronto itself. The number of legal retail outlets is expected to jump to 75 later this year.