Brick-and-mortar cannabis stores have so far been hard to come by in Ontario. But come October, Canada’s most populous province should have 50 more marijuana shops, and eight of them will be on First Nations reserves. On July 3, the Government of Ontario announced plans for a second round of retail store authorizations. But the process of applying for retail licenses will be different for First Nations communities. Unlike the “expression of interest” lottery the Alcohol and Gaming Commission of Ontario (AGCO) will use to award 42 other private cannabis retail store licenses, it will award the eight licenses to First Nations communities on a first come, first served basis.

Eight of 50 New Ontario Pot Shop Licenses Will Go to First Nations Businesses

Unlike other Canadian provinces, Ontario has been slow to establish a private retail cannabis market. 25 privately operated retail locations were slated to open across the province on April 1, but some have yet to open their doors. The reason for the 25-shop cap, according to the AGCO, was a shortage in the national supply of cannabis. At the same time, limited access to licensed retail stores helped to re-entrench the unregulated cannabis market Ontario officials

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