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Do you need a licence to sell cannabis / cannabis dispensary licences?

Region: Ontario Answer # 2400

Sale of recreational cannabis

Yes, private retailers require a licence (or permit) from their provincial government to sell recreational cannabis in Canada, both in physical store locations and online.

General requirements for a licence

While each province may differ slightly, to receive a licence the applicant must usually be required to provide:

  • all information about their business;
  • the financial and criminal histories of all employees;
  • any involvement they may have with current Licensed Producers (LPs);
  • a business plan; and must
  • be in good standing with Canada Revenue Agency;
  • have approval from their municipal government; and
  • possess a proven ability to financially and personally operate the business.

However, each province and territory is responsible for developing, implementing, maintaining and enforcing the rules and guidelines for the distribution and sale of cannabis in their jurisdiction. This includes:

  • how cannabis can be sold
  • where stores can be located, and
  • how they must be operated.

For more information about private retailer licensing and sales of recreational cannabis in your province, refer to topic 2402 Private retailers and government sales.

Federal Health Canada licence

Health Canada licence is required to sell cannabis to:

  • wholesalers and distributors (which are in turn supply the provincial and territorial cannabis retailers), and/or
  • individuals who have a physicians prescription and have registered to obtain cannabis products for medical purposes (“registered patients”).

Licences required by cultivators, producers, packagers

Cultivators, producers and packagers of cannabis products are required to have both a Health Canada licence and a Canada Revenue Agency Excise Tax licence. For more information, refer to topic 2466 Who is licensed to grow and cultivate cannabis for legal sale?

Sale of medical cannabis

Retail stores are not authorized to sell cannabis for medical purposes. Medical cannabis can only be legally purchased online, directly from a producer licensed by Health Canada, referred to as an LP. For more information, refer to our Medical Marijuana section. View other sections of Cannabis Law for more information or visit Cannabis Links.

To erase your criminal record for simple cannabis possession or any other criminal charges, call toll-free 1-888-808-3628 or learn more at Pardon Partners. It’s easier than you think.

For legal advice and assistance with a cannabis related matters, contact our preferred cannabis law expert, Harrison Jordan Law .

Pardon Partners – Cannabis ONPardon Partners – Cannabis ON


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