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5 cannabis retail licences allocated to Toronto, 6 for the GTA

Last Updated Dec 14, 2018 at 7:22 pm EDT

The Ontario government has announced where the 25 initial cannabis licences will be allocated across the province.

It was revealed on Thursday the PC government has decided to limit the number of privately-owned cannabis stores that open on April 1, 2019 due to a pot supply shortage in Canada.

Five of those licences will be issued to cannabis retail stores in the Toronto region with an additional six licences given to locations in the GTA, including Peel, Halton, York and Durham regions.

The remaining licences will be distributed across the rest of Ontario. Western Ontario, including London, Niagara and Waterloo, will be allocated seven retail store locations. Two licences will be issued to locations in northern Ontario while the remaining five will be distributed throughout eastern Ontario.

The province says it’s planning on taking a “phased approach” to authorizing retail cannabis outlets because of “severe supply shortages” across the country.

The Liberals had previously planned to open 40 government-run retail cannabis shops by the summer of 2018, with the network of stores to expand to 150 by 2020.

The Tories changed the cannabis retail model because they said expanding the number of stores and moving to a private system would better address demand and curb black market sales.

There have been no further details released about what the next phase for issuing licences would be.

Municipalities have until January 22, 2019 to decide if they will allow cannabis stores in their communities.

The City of Toronto decided on Thursday they would opt-in to privately-owned pot shops, while Mississauga and Markham voted on Wednesday to opt-out.

With files from the Canadian Press