It’s no April  Fool’s joke for those who had been looking forward to the first brick and mortar cannabis stores to open on April 1, the Alcohol and Gaming Commission of Ontario has revealed fewer will open today than the Progressive Conservative government had originally planned.

The Ontario government expected 25 stores would be ready to go and serve customers, but only 10 of them have received the ‘go ahead’ from the AGCO, all of which are located in southern Ontario.

It’s unclear on when Sudbury’s two shops will get the go-ahead.  Both Highlife and Canna Cabana Sudbury have undergone the public notice period are waiting for final approvals.

Officials with the location in the New Sudbury neighbourhood anticipate opening on April 5.

Up until now, the only legal recreational cannabis has been available to purchase in the province through the government-run website, Ontario Cannabis Store.

The government had originally said there would be no cap on the amount of privatized stores that would be green-lit, but instead chose to only issue 25 initial licenses, citing supply issues.

A lottery was held in January to give interested business owners the chance to apply.

The successful applicants had to supply a $6,000 non-refundable licensing fee and a $50,000 letter of credit, which would be drawn upon to pay incremental fines of $12,500 for any delays in opening the new establishment.

AGCO has said many of the applicants are at different stages of the approvals process.

People looking to work at or enter the store need to be at least 19 years old, and staff must check the identification of anyone who appears to be under 25. 

Stores will be allowed to be open from 9 am to 11 pm and no products can be visible from the outside. Each location must have security cameras inside and out.

Shoppers will only be able to buy up to 30 grams of dried cannabis, or equivalent at one time in the following forms:

  • Capsules
  • Dried flower
  • Oils
  • Pre-rolled joints
  • Seeds

The sale of edibles is currently not legal in Ontario and the government has yet to release the stipulations or timelines for this next phase of legalization.