Would-be cannabis store owners in Ontario have only a couple of weeks left to maneuver through extreme regulatory boundaries if they expect to be selling bud by April.
With only a month and a half to go, just eight suggested stores throughout the state have filed their retail shop software.
Ontario desires the very first wave of cannabis retail shops to start by April 1, even if retail permit holders don’t meet this deadline they’ll be met with stiff financial penalties.
“This was a perception which has been widely spread at first, this was a gold ticket,” said Brenna Boonstra, that manages the retail licensing team for Cannabis Compliance Inc., a business consulting firm.
“It is proving to be exceptionally complex ”
Two of those seven lottery winners to the West Region — a huge chunk of Onatrio that stretches out of Waterloo Region into Hamilton into Windsor — have registered their retail shop program.
One is to get a proposed store in St. Catharines, another is currently in London. It will not be understood where another lottery winners mean to open a shop till they enter a public notice.
The Alcohol and Gaming Commission of Ontario, the state’s bud ruler, says it’s going to start doling out licences on March 4. All suggested stores also will need to be accepted by the state’s government-run provider, the Ontario Cannabis Store.
Already, one Ontario cannabis lottery winner was disqualified for breaking a rule which prohibits any alterations to the title of the individual within a program or the corporate structure of the firm operating the shop.
The AGCO’s rules prohibit any kind of franchise arrangement which would see somebody else conduct the cannabis store, or enter into a venture which would see them discuss or hands over control to some other thing.
She considers some lottery winners, even using little to no expertise or interest in conducting a cannabis store, signed deals which might have breached these rules. They just had a week to think about multi-million-dollar supplies for their possible licence.
“Lots of these saw this as an chance to cash in … It is very tempting to take an offer”
Many lottery winners shortly realized their strategies to reverse their license to somebody else was much more complex than they ever imagined. Now they are faced with the challenge of launching and running a shop where everything in the training of personnel to how stock is delivered is heavily governed by the province.
And should they not open by April 1, then they can face stiff financial penalties.
“It is daunting to start a cannabis retail shop and also to function within this business,” Boonstra said. “For somebody who might not have a business history, and also to execute a shop opening by April 1, it is a massive job.”
With very little vetting required, over 17,000 individuals paid a $75 fee to go into the cannabis store lottery. Ontario was the only state which chose to establish its retail cannabis shops in this manner.
Part of this reason Ontario’s prospective cannabis shop owners are scrambling is since the states strategy for government-run bud stores just months prior to legalization came last October, allowing for personal shops.
“Ontario arrived at this with a larger time crunch compared to other states,” Boonstra said.
“If you are coming to this with no experience in cannabis retail, then it’ll be challenging. The odds of a misstep is large “