All Eyes on Ontario’s Cannabis Retail License Lottery



Cannabis retail license lottery

On January 7, Ontario’s provincial government will begin accepting applications for 25 licenses to retail cannabis in the province. The winners will be selected through a lottery process, which will be held on January 11. The AGCO (Alcohol and Gaming Commission of Ontario) has developed a software program to select the winners from the entries.

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Terms of the lottery

The companies are allowed to submit their expression of interest with an application fee of $75 to the AGCO from January 7–9 to win one of the 25 available retail licenses. The winners of the lottery will have to pay $6,000 for the retail operator license and another $4,000 for the retail store authorization fee. They also must provide a $50,000 letter of credit that is valid until December 13, 2019, within five days of the announcement of lottery results.


The government has set steep fines for a delay in the opening of stores. The government has set a late fine of $12,500 if retailers fail to start their operations by April 1, and the penalties can extend to $50,000 if retailers fail to start their business by April 30.

Stock performance

Cannabis stocks have started 2019 on a brighter note. As of January 4, the Horizons Marijuana Life Sciences Index ETF (HMMJ), which tracks the North American Medical Marijuana Index, has returned 7.0% YTD. During the same period, the ETFMG Alternative Harvest ETF (MJ), MedMen Enterprises (MMNFF), Planet 13 Holdings (PLNHF), and Curaleaf Holdings (CURLF) have returned 8.6%, 23.0%, 3.5%, and 18.3%, respectively.


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