dispensary license in Ontario

4 min read

How to Get a Dispensary License in Ontario

August 10, 2022

So you have made up your mind to try your strengths in the cannabis industry in Ontario and start seeking guidelines on how to get started, you can’t find a better solution to this than this article. So follow this info and learn how to get a dispensary license in Ontario. 

It’s a whole process to get a dispensary license and the very first and main step you are to take is that you will have to apply for specific applications. You will need a Retail Operator License, Retail Store Authorization license, and a Cannabis Retail License Manager. AGCO (Alcohol and Gaming Commission) is the body that grants licenses for cannabis retail stores in Ontario.

There is an entity that ensures advisory services so you could get a dispensary license lawfully, it’s called UTS Group. But before you apply for the mentioned licenses you will have to pass through security and background checks that are conducted by the local and the federal government in Ontario.

How to Apply for a Retail Operator License in Ontario

This license is for entities who want to run a cannabis dispensary or retail store. To apply for your online Retail Operator License via iAGCO you will need to know your:

  • Applicant Type (Sole Proprietor, Limited Partnership, Partnership, Corporation, Trust);
  • Legal Name;
  • Legal Structure (i.e. Privately Held, Publicly Held, Trust, Not-for-Profit).

You will have to answer some entity and individual disclosure questions to demonstrate your readiness to meet the requirements for acquiring a dispensary license in Ontario and then you can read and sign the Declaration. (The document you will have to read and sign while creating an account on iAGCO)

In addition, there are also various supporting documents you will need to provide and upload on the AGCO website in order to receive the relevant licenses. 

How to Apply For a Retail Store Authorization license in Ontario

The retail store authorization license is an intentional document for operating a physical storefront. Each location needs a different authorization in Ontario.

For submission of a Retail Store Authorization License, you will have to either hold a valid Retail Operator License or have a submitted application at the AGCO. Both applications can be submitted at the same time.

You will need to indicate the following:

  • Applicant Type;
  • Legal Name;
  • Legal Structure (i.e. Privately Held, Publicly Held, Trust, Not-for-Profit);
  • Retail Operator License Number or File Number of the application.

In addition, there are also supporting documents you will need to provide by uploading documents on the AGCO website relating to any third-party agreements in case they were not disclosed in your application for a Retail Operator License. 

Applicants will need to provide all applicable third-party agreements as well, which can be found on the relevant website. 

The location must operate only as a cannabis retail store or a dispensary, and must not pursue other business opportunities, like a coffee shop, restaurant, convenience store, etc. 

How to Apply for a Cannabis Retail License Manager in Ontario 

Staff in cannabis dispensaries in Ontario are required to apply for the Cannabis Retail Manager’s license to meet the standards of management responsibilities. They are the ones with supervisory and management responsibilities and also handle compliance issues regarding cannabis sales. 

You are not allowed to apply for a Cannabis Retail Manager License if: 

  • you are under 19 years of age; 
  • you have been charged with certain offenses;
  • you have, or previously had, certain connections with a criminal organization you are carrying on activities that are not in compliance with certain laws;
  • you have made a false statement or provided false information in your application.

There is one more thing you are to consider if you applied for a new Cannabis Manager License or renewal Cannabis Retail Manager License in the past but were refused, or if you have had a Cannabis Retail Manager License revoked. You will have to wait two years to apply for a Cannabis Retail Manager License again.

Licensing Fees for Dispensaries in Ontario

The fees you will have to pay to acquire the licenses vary according to what type of license you are applying for. You can find the relevant fees down below:  

Retail Operator License 

  • $6000 – fee for two years term;
  • $2000 – renewal fee, valid for two years; 
  • $4000 – renewal fee, valid for four years.

Retail Store Authorization License

  • $4000 – fee for two years term;
  • $3500 – renewal fee, valid for two years;
  • $7000 – renewal fee, valid for four years. 

Cannabis Retail Manager License

  • $750 – fee for two years term;
  • $500 – renewal fee, valid for two years; 
  • $1000 – renewal fee, valid for four years.

Conclusion

Acquiring a dispensary license is complex and shows your commitment to offering high-quality products and services. It benefits an enhanced quantity of confident customers that translate to higher sales which is in hand for any business. 

We hope this guideline about how to get a dispensary license in Ontario will help and assist you greatly with your plans to start your cannabis business in Ontario.