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How to get a dispensary license in Ontario (Canada)

Dispensary license in Ontario, Canada, there are several steps you need to follow. The licensing process involves complying with various regulations and demonstrating your ability to operate a safe and responsible cannabis retail business. Here’s a step-by-step guide on how to get a dispensary license in Ontario:

  1. Understand the Regulations: Familiarize yourself with the laws and regulations governing cannabis sales in Ontario. The main regulatory body is the Alcohol and Gaming Commission of Ontario (AGCO), which oversees cannabis licensing.
  2. Meet the Eligibility Criteria: Ensure that you meet the eligibility requirements set by the AGCO. These include being at least 19 years old, having Canadian citizenship or permanent residency, and having a clean criminal record.
  3. Develop a Business Plan: Create a comprehensive business plan that outlines your goals, financial projections, marketing strategy, security measures, and compliance procedures. This plan will demonstrate your understanding of the industry and your ability to run a successful dispensary.
  4. Secure a Location: Find a suitable location for your dispensary. Ensure that the property meets all zoning requirements and is compliant with local bylaws. You must also be at least 150 meters away from schools and other designated areas.
  5. Establish a Corporation: Register a corporation or a partnership under the Business Corporations Act (Ontario) or the Limited Partnerships Act (Ontario). This step is crucial as it separates your personal assets from the business and provides legal protection.
  6. Obtain Municipal Approval: Contact the municipality where you plan to operate your dispensary and obtain their approval. Some municipalities have additional licensing or zoning requirements, so ensure you comply with their regulations.
  7. Complete the Retail Operator License Application: Submit the Retail Operator License Application to the AGCO, along with the required documents, such as your business plan, financial information, security plans, and proof of municipal approval.
  8. Pay the Application Fee: Pay the non-refundable application fee as per the AGCO’s fee schedule. The fee amount may vary depending on the type of license and the size of your operation.
  9. Background Checks and Screening: Undergo mandatory background checks for you and any other key individuals involved in the business. The AGCO will also conduct thorough screening processes to ensure compliance with regulations.
  10. Complete the Retail Store Authorization Application: Once you receive your Retail Operator License, you can proceed with the Retail Store Authorization Application. This application includes details about your proposed location, floor plans, security measures, and inventory control procedures.
  11. Pay the Authorization Fee: Pay the non-refundable authorization fee as per the AGCO’s fee schedule. This fee is separate from the application fee and covers the cost of processing your authorization.
  12. Compliance Inspections: Prepare your store for compliance inspections conducted by the AGCO. These inspections ensure that your location, security measures, and inventory management are in accordance with the regulations.
  13. Training Requirements: Ensure that all employees receive the required training on responsible cannabis sales, safe handling, and relevant regulations. The AGCO offers online training programs that meet the mandatory training requirements.
  14. Open for Business: Once you receive your Retail Store Authorization, you can open your dispensary for business. Make sure to follow all operational guidelines and continue to comply with regulations to maintain your license.

Dispensary license in Ontario, Canada, Remember that the licensing process may take several months, so it’s crucial to start early and be patient. Maintaining compliance with regulations and operating responsibly is vital for the long-term success of your dispensary.

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