Establishing yourself in Ontario's upcoming private cannabis market will cost a pretty penny.
Back in November, the government of Ontario announced they would begin accepting applications for private cannabis sales come December 17. Now, they've announced just how much you'll have to hand over to the Alcohol and Gaming Commission of Ontario (AGCO) to get one of those coveted licenses. It'll cost you at least C$10,000 for your first store.
That eye-popping number is actually the sum of three separate fees that prospective business owners will have to pay in order to start selling legal cannabis. The first is a C$6,000 "retailer operator license" that must be paid in order to legally own a cannabis retail business. The license is good for two years, after which you'll have to pay a C$2,000 fee to renew every two years from there on out.
The second fee is what the province is calling a "retail store authorization" fee. This one will cost you C$4,000 for each storefront you want to open. This one too is valid for two years at a time and comes with a C$3,500 renewal fee.
The final fee is the C$750 "cannabis retail manager license." This one is at least sort of optional. If any of the owners of the business are acting as individual store managers then the fee will be waived. It's only if you decide to hire someone else to take up the managerial duties that you'll need to pay the fee. You'll need to pay it for each of your individual store's managers, and it also needs to be renewed ever two years with a C$500 price tag.
So, the absolute lowest price you can get on opening a retail cannabis shop in Ontario is C$10,000. That's only if you have a single store and you plan on staffing the thing yourself. People who hope to open multiple stores will be in for a much bigger investment. And they'll have to be ready to pay up another C$6,000 every or more every two years to keep their shop running.
If you can afford to pay the fees and your application gets approved you'll be able to open up shop on April 1, 2019. However, that's assuming you'll actually be able to get any stock on the shelves with the ongoing cannabis shortages plaguing Canada.