Ontario has chosen 42 winners of its second cannabis retail lottery as it prepares to triple the size of its industry.

The province permitted an initial 25 stores after adult-use cannabis was legalized at a federal level in October 2018. Last month it unveiled plans to issue 50 new licences – eight for First Nation reserves and 42 for Ontario entrepreneurs – and it held a draw yesterday to produce those 42 winners.

It received 4,864 submissions in total, but fewer than 1% of applicants were successful. The Alcohol and Gaming Commission of Ontario has now released the results of the draw, naming all the successful applicants.

There are 13 for the city of Toronto and a further seven for the Greater Toronto Area, plus seven for the east of the state, five for the north and 11 for the west.

The lottery winners all met pre-qualification requirements, proving they can access $250,000 in cash and a gain a suitable retail site, and they can now apply for a cannabis Retail Operator Licence and a Retail Store Authorization. They have until Aug. 28, 2019, to do so and they must then meet all legal and regulatory requirements.

The retailers must then enter a wholesale agreement with Ontario Cannabis Store – which also sells direct to consumers online – before securing products to fill their shelves and passing AGCO pre-opening inspection procedures.

AGCO expects stores to begin opening in October. The First Nation licences were issued on a first come, first served basis, and the province should have a total of 75 cannabis retail outlets in the not too distant future.

The exact locations of the stores have not yet been disclosed. There is some controversy over retail locations, as a study recently revealed that stores are more than twice as prevalent in low income-areas as they are in high-incomes neighbourhoods.

The research came from the Ottawa Hospital, the University of Ottawa, and the Bruyère Research Institute, covering all of Canada during the first six months post-recreational legalization. It found that government-run and private-run retail outlets were more than twice as concentrated in the lowest income quintile compared to the highest income quintile.

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