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Ontario Regulator To Double Monthly Cannabis Store Approvals

Ontario's cannabis store regulator said it will double the number of monthly cannabis retail stores it authorizes this fall.

The Alcohol and Gaming Commission of Ontario or AGCO said it is working with the Government of Ontario to increase the number of cannabis Retail Store Authorizations or RSAs that can be issued by the commission each month.

In December 2019, the government announced that starting April 2020, the AGCO would begin to issue up to 20 retail store authorizations or RSAs per month. At the government's direction, the AGCO is now moving to double the pace of store authorizations this fall.

The AGCO has issued a total of 164 RSAs to date, and 150 stores are currently open.

The AGCO said it will soon contact all affected retail store applicants directly to advise them of any change to the timing of the issuance of their store authorizations.

In December, data released by Statistics Canada showed that retail cannabis sales in Canada were just shy of C$1 billion in the first year of legalization. The retail non-medical cannabis market registered C$907.8 million in online and retail store sales in Canada from October 2018 to September 2019. On a per capita basis, legal cannabis sales in Canada were $24 in the first year.

Ontario led retail cannabis sales at the provincial level, contributing C$216.8 million to the sector from October 2018 to September 2019, followed by Alberta with sales of C$195.7 million, and Quebec with sales of C$194.9 million.

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