As expected, the Ontario government has directed the Alcohol & Gaming Commission of Ontario (AGCO) to increase the Retail Store Authorization (RSA) issuance rate. The AGCO has announced that the current maximum of 20 RSAs per month will be doubled to a maximum of 40 per month commencing this fall.

This is welcome news for Ontario cannabis retail store operators waiting (or soon to be waiting) in the AGCO's store opening queue. Prior to this change, the queue reportedly extended to summer 2021. The increased cap on RSA issuances will shorten the opening queue by half, which means that applicants who pass their initial inspection in the coming weeks will likely still have to wait at least several months before they are permitted to open. Given the continued backlog, the industry will be waiting anxiously for a further increase to the cap – or its elimination.

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