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Toronto Entrepreneurs Eye Cannabis Retail Opportunities

August 15, 2018

Earlier this week, Ontario officials announced that they will allow private marijuana retailers to sell recreational cannabis as long as they abide by provincial regulations. This news has led many marijuana entrepreneurs seeking opportunities in the recreational cannabis market to pursue the initial steps in establishing retailers in Toronto.

Private Cannabis Retailers

The announcement was made be Minister of Finance Vic Fedeli who detailed the how the system will be structured with the Ontario Cannabis Store supplying online sales and eventually serve as a wholesaler for private marijuana retailers. Minister Fedeli noted that the focus of the Ontario government will be to protect consumers and eliminate the black market.

The Minister of Finance stated that, "The government of Ontario will not be in the business of running physical cannabis stores. Instead we will work with private-sector businesses to build a safe, reliable retail system that will divert sales away from the illegal market."

The online sales portal will be activated as of October 17th to meet the federal deadline for cannabis retail sales, however, private marijuana retailers will have to wait until April 1st, 2019 to open their doors. Ontario government officials plan to propose an official Ontario Cannabis Retail Seal so customers who shop at private dispensaries are able to identify federally certified marijuana products.

Compliance for Private Retailers

Minister of Finance Vic Fedeli noted that, "Consumers can look to this seal to confirm they are buying from a legal channel. This is an assurance that the illegal market simply cannot match." He went on to say "For those engaged in the underground [cannabis market] today, our message is simple: Stop."

While many marijuana retailers interested in setting up shop in Toronto may purchase their inventory from the Ontario Cannabis Store, companies do have the right to vertically integrate and grow their own supply, as long as they remain compliant with regulations. The Ontario government is taking a stiff stance on sales to minors and Fedeli emphasized that, "If a private retailer is caught selling cannabis to any underage buyer, even once, their licence is done."

U.S. Retailers Rush to Ontario

The announcement on Monday has sparked a mad dash to secure infrastructure for private marijuana retailers in Ontario’s capital city Toronto. Colorado based cannabis retailer Starbuds has already finalized contracts on two locations in Ontario including Toronto.

President of Starbuds, Dave Martyn, remarked that "Our goal is to make this a higher-end shopping experience, and something that targets different demographics than maybe the expectation would be, so your soccer moms, your professionals, people of that nature."

All private marijuana retailers will need to use compliant point-of-sale software to process transactions and manage their inventory. IndicaOnline can provide an all-in-one solution that streamlines operations and automates compliance so dispensaries can focus on customer service. Schedule a demo to find out more about our powerful cannabis software.