Cannabis retail shops began opening in the Canadian province of Ontario on Monday, although fewer than half of the shops licensed by the government were ready to start operating on the first day of sales. According to the provincial Alcohol and Gaming Commission, 10 retail stores have been given the approval to open on April 1. Until Monday, legal cannabis sales in Ontario were only available online through a government-run e-commerce store.
Three retail cannabis outlets were authorized to open in Ottawa, two in Kingston, and one each in Toronto, Brampton, Burlington, London, and St. Catharines. Government officials had hoped to have 25 stores open on Monday, but many are still navigating the approval process. Regulators set an initial cap of only 25 retail licenses because of a shortage of cannabis from licensed producers that is stifling the growth of the industry legalized in Canada late last year.
Hunny Gawri, the owner of the Hunny Pot Cannabis Co. in Toronto, told reporters that he got little sleep Sunday night in the rush to get the store stocked and ready to open on Monday morning.
“We have a full house in here,” Gawri said. “It’s everything we could have asked for.”