Ontario to take a new approach to licensing private pot shops


The Doug Ford government is changing course on private cannabis stores.

The government announced Thursday it’s opting for a “phased approach” to introduce brick and mortar pot shops to the province.

It will issue just 25 licences ahead of the first day of private retail sales on Apr. 1.

Who gets those licences will be determined by a lottery system early next year.

The government is pointing the finger at the federal government, blaming it for a lack of supply.

“It is the federal government’s responsibility to oversee cannabis production and to provide a viable alternative to the illegal market by ensuring there is sufficient supply to meet consumer demand,” the Ontario government said in a statement.

“Yet, we continue to see severe supply shortages across the country in legal, licensed recreational cannabis stores.”

The change comes as councillors in Toronto voted Thursday to allow privately operated retail stores in their city.

Councillors in Burlington and Hamilton will make their own decision on the issue next week.

Right now, the only legal way for Ontario residents to get recreational weed is through the government-run website, which has experienced supply shortages of its own.