Like many provinces in Canada, Ontario is gearing up for federal cannabis legalization by establishing a provincial framework for retail cannabis. Taking on a phased approach, Ontario will begin with a government-operated online cannabis store starting October 17, 2018. If proposed legislation is passed, Ontario will allow private retail storefronts starting in April 2019.
Ontario has set the minimum age for purchase of non-medical cannabis at 19. If proposed amendments to Bill 36 pass, cannabis will be legal to consume anywhere tobacco is allowed. Municipal governments can opt out of the retail cannabis program.
The Alcohol and Gaming Commission of Ontario (AGCO) will be in charge of all wholesale cannabis inventory, online cannabis sales, licensing operators, approving retail cannabis sites, and licensing cannabis retail managers and senior-level employees. The AGCO will also be in charge of all inspections and enforcement.
The cannabis licensing process in Ontario is expected to open in December 2018 if proposed legislation passes. There are still many details to be worked out, but we have provided answers to as many Ontario dispensary law questions as possible below. We will continually update this page as new information is released.
Starting October 17, 2018, adults in Ontario will be able to purchase non-medical cannabis through the Ontario Cannabis Store, a publicly operated online store and delivery system. If
The AGCO is aiming to open the application process for store operator licenses in December 2018, contingent upon proposed legislation passing. Bookmark this page and check back frequently for updates.
The cannabis license application in Ontario has yet to be released. According to proposed legislation, the AGCO will be in charge of the licensing process. Applicants will be subject to criminal and financial eligibility checks as well as presently undetermined fees.
The AGCO will grant three required authorizations and licenses: 1) Retail Operator License, 2) Cannabis Retail Manager License, and 3) Retail Store Authorization.
During the Retail Operator License application, applicants will be required to propose a retail cannabis site (where they intend to put each storefront) to the AGCO. Before the AGCO will grant a Retail Store Authorization, the municipal government and community will have a 15-day notification period to voice concerns. Store managers and senior-level employees will be required to go through the AGCO’s Cannabis Retail Manager licensing process as well.
You can read the full text of the proposed legislation on retail cannabis in Ontario here. We will continually update this page as more details are released for the cannabis license application in Ontario.
Remaining compliant with federal and provincial regulations will be critical. Learn the details of Ontario’s cannabis retail law here.
The minimum age for purchasing non-medical cannabis is 19, one year older than the federal minimum age required for tobacco or alcohol.
Yes; the AGCO will operate the Ontario Cannabis Store, an online marketplace and delivery system. Online cannabis sales in Ontario will begin on October 17, 2018.
If proposed legislation is passed, retailers will be required to purchase all wholesale inventory exclusively from the publicly-owned Ontario Cannabis Retail Corporation. This is the same entity that will run the online Ontario Cannabis Store.
According to proposed legislation, any other products sold must be approved by the AGCO first.
If proposed legislation passes, adults over the age of 19 years old will be able to have a maximum of 30 grams (about one ounce) of dried cannabis in public at any time.
Proposed legislation says purchase limits cannot exceed the 30 gram possession allowance, but could be limited to a lesser amount. We will update this answer when purchase limits are finalized.
Cannabis tracking and reporting
Details on tracking and reporting requirements have not been fully released. Proposed legislation would allow Ontario’s government to establish standards and requirements regarding tracking and reporting, including the keeping of records, including financial records; reasonable measures to maintain data security; and compliance with the cannabis tracking system established in the Bill 81: Cannabis Act (Canada).
As more details are released, our team will work to ensure our cannabis-specific point of sale system goes above and beyond the requirements in Ontario. Currently, our system provides top of the line data storage and security and is compliant with tracking standards established in Canada’s Cannabis Act.
Staying compliant with federal, provincial, and local regulations – including cannabis seed-to-sale reporting requirements – is your top priority as a cannabis retailer.
The proposed Cannabis Act authorizes the Minister to establish a national cannabis tracking system and to require licensed operators to report all cannabis activity. Typically, a point-of-sale system that is integrated with the national reporting system is the ideal solution for cannabis retailers.
Details on the required information and timeframe for reporting have not yet been determined.
The federal government is still in the process of establishing a national seed-to-sale tracking system. More information on retailers’ responsibilities will be released as it becomes available.
If you are found out of compliance by an inspector, you will be issued a Contravention Notice and may be recommended for enforcement action. Penalties are still under development but may include a fine or license suspension/cancellation. There will also be a reconsideration process by which you may challenge the result of the enforcement hearing.
Once you have a temporary or annual retail operator license, have created your account in Metrc and completed the required training, you may begin working with Metrc.
No, temporary licensees are not required to report in Metrc. However, temporary licensees are required to keep records of all track and trace information from the time they begin retail operations. Once an annual license has been approved, you must backlog all the track and trace information that you’ve recorded and begin daily reporting in Metrc.
Once you’ve set up your account in
The first way is manual reporting. This method requires logging in to your
The second way is to utilize a retail-specific cannabis dispensary software that can integrate with
In the event that you lose connectivity to
The state mandates that retailers maintain accurate inventory records. Physical inventory must be reconciled with records at least once every 14 days. You must also reconcile physical inventory with the counts you’ve reported in
Cova POS software provides complete seed-to-sale tracking functionality and has a number of built-in features designed to help you automatically comply with the legal regulations in your state/province. For example, the Cova POS system automatically monitors:
To ensure that you always maintain an expedient transaction pace and keep lines moving, Cova comes with a built-in offline sales processing mode that enables continuous access to critical functions even when your Wi-Fi or internet connection is unavailable. Once connectivity is restored, all transactions performed in offline mode are synchronized with the state’s reporting system, data is backed up, and reports and inventory records are adjusted accordingly.
By choosing a POS system with built-in tax reporting functionality, you’ll always know exactly how much tax you need to pay.
There are several reasons why a cannabis-specific POS is ideal for your operation—but the most important one is compliance management. Because traditional retail operations and pharmacies don’t have the same government-mandated compliance requirements, their POS systems aren’t built to manage the complexities involved with track and trace reporting and the other aspects of state compliance.
With the industry still in its infancy, regulations are bound to change. At Cova, our team keeps up with industry-wide and state-specific changes so that our developers can quickly made necessary software updates—and so you never have to worry about remaining compliant with the latest regulations.
Absolutely! Cova software is built on technology that has the ability to dynamically scale with your needs. Microsoft’s Cloud Computing Platform, Azure, automatically detects instances of heavy traffic (such as sales on 4/20) and assigns further servers and computing power as necessary to compensate—allowing you to process sales without interruption, even during the busiest retail periods.
Although technically you are not mandated to comply with the new law and regulations until July, it’s a good idea to implement a compliant POS now so you don’t have to switch later.
With Cova, you can easily stay compliant with California’s inventory reconciliation requirement by printing the Inventory-on-hand report and checking it against your physical inventory. You can make any necessary adjustments directly into the POS, which will then sync the data across your network.