4 min read

How to Open a Dispensary in Ontario

August 15, 2022

The legalization of recreational marijuana businesses has become one of the hot topics in Canada over the past few years. However, there is quite a significant time gap between the legalization of medical and recreational marijuana in Ontario. Medical cannabis has been legal since 1999, while the legitimation of recreational cannabis took place only in 2018. Canada became the second country in the world after Uruguay, where marijuana has become legal.

After the legalization of recreational cannabis in Canada, quite a handful of companies have jumped on the opportunity to be the pioneer companies in the industry. However, after all these years, the trend is still going upward, and more and more new cannabis retailers are popping up on the market. In this article, we’ll guide you through the necessary steps you need to take on if you decide to open a dispensary in Ontario. So be observant and find out more down below.

How Can I Get a Dispensary License in Ontario?

One of the critical steps to opening and running a dispensary/dispensaries in Ontario is acquiring relevant licenses of three types. You should apply for a Retail Operator LIcense (as an individual), a Retail Store Authorization (for each retail location), and a cannabis Retail License Manager. AGCO is the body in Ontario that organizes licensure procedures and grants licenses for dispensary retail stores. Find out more about licensing procedures here.

Do I Need a Comprehensive Business Plan?

Like many other businesses, it is crucial to organize a comprehensive business plan for a cannabis retail store, all the whats, wheres, and whens you need to figure out before you intend to launch a dispensary business in Ontario. The plan should include costs, locations, sales, compliance, and all necessary topics.

Proper and wise planning will help you enter into a new and exciting business sector and determine its successful operation. There are relevant consulting services in Ontario that will assist you in working out your business plan for the cannabis dispensary.

What Are the Requirements for Cannabis Dispensary Locations in Ontario?

Based on the statements of The Cannabis License Act of 2018, cannabis dispensary premises in Ontario must be located in an area determined within the retail cannabis program.

Operation hours must be between 9 am and 11 pm from Monday to Sunday, though local municipalities can also set the hours, so be sure to check them out. A dispensary must not be located within 150 meters of private or public schools, work only for selling approved cannabis products or cannabis accessories, and must not be used for any other intentions.

Cannabis products and accessories can not be visible outside the store, and the public must not have access to locations where cannabis products are stored or received.

The store must have an HD 24/7 video surveillance system, with a minimum of 30-day backup, that records the entrances, exits, point of sale, receiving area, sales floor, and cannabis storage area.

What Else to Take in Mind when Opening a Cannabis Dispensary in Ontario

Before opening a dispensary itself, it is crucial to be familiar with all the regulations and laws about how to open a dispensary in Ontario or how to apply for the desired dispensary license. You will be allowed to start selling cannabis products immediately after receiving the relevant licenses’ approval.

Why You Should Choose IndicaOnline As the Best Partner

IndicaOnline is a company you can always count on while running your dispensary in Ontario. Our best solution POS software, delivery, and e-commerce platforms provide high-quality services by automation state reporting taking retail experience to the next level.

An end-to-end tracking system equips your marijuana business with sophisticated tracing and product tracking software to manage and report the everyday operations of your retail store. The system enhances the functionality of your cannabis dispensary that guarantees your customer’s satisfaction. And last but not least, our marketing and e-commerce tools will help you acquire new consumers and build strong, long-lasting relationships with them.


The cannabis industry has been on the rise, and it doesn’t seem to stagnate through all these years. It means there is still a real potential, the great support and assistance on a state level to launch a cannabis business in Ontario today and make the best profit from it. And as a company, we guarantee that IndicaOnline will equip you with all the necessary basis for successfully launching and running your dispensary in Ontario.