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Recreational Cannabis Retail Stores in St. Catharines

At a meeting on Jan. 14, 2019, St. Catharines City Council opted in to permitting private retail cannabis stores to locate in the city.

In addition to notifying the Alcohol and Gaming Commission of Ontario (AGCO) of its decision, Council is also requesting the province provide greater regulatory input and control when it comes to the location of stores in communities.

The City wishes to thank the public for its input, which helped inform a staff report on the issue of the sale of cannabis in licensed retail outlets in St. Catharines.

While Council voted to allow stores to locate in the City, the AGCO is charged with approval, licensing, regulating and enforcement of private cannabis retail stores and will oversee the stores, which will be operational by April 1.

As part of the first phase, the province has only authorized 25 store licences, with just seven in the West Region, which includes St. Catharines and stretches from Niagara to Lake Huron and to Manitoulin Island, and includes Hamilton, Guelph, Kitchener, Waterloo and Windsor, and all areas in southwestern Ontario west of Halton and Peel Regions and Toronto. The AGCO has conducted a lottery system for the licences and those selected are continuing the application process.

Public meeting

During a public meeting on Dec. 11, City staff provided a presentation on the legislative and regulatory framework for permitting private retail cannabis stores. Thank you to those who attended. Your feedback is appreciated.

Online survey

Thank you to those who participated in our online survey regarding locating recreational cannabis retail stores in the City. The survey closed Dec. 14.


  • Recreational cannabis was legalized Oct. 17, 2018 by the federal government. The Province of Ontario has laws in place about how, where and who can buy and possess cannabis in Ontario. You can learn more about Ontario’s rules and regulations for legal use here, as well as the federal framework here.
  • On Oct. 17, the Province provided a model for the establishment of private retail stores for the sale of legalized recreational cannabis. The Alcohol and Gaming Commission (AGCO) is charged with licencing, regulating and enforcement of private cannabis retail stores.
  • The AGCO will begin accepting applications for new stores in December of 2018 with the intent to have private retail cannabis stores operational by April 1, 2019.
  • Prior to issuing any licences for the operation of a private cannabis retail store, the Province is giving all local municipalities the opportunity to opt-in or opt-out of locating recreational cannabis retail stores within the municipality. The municipality deadline is Jan. 22, 2019.

To provide direct input or to obtain further information regarding the establishment of recreation cannabis retail stores, contact Bruce Bellows, Senior Planner, Planning and Building Services Department, at 905-688-5601, ext. 1706, via email at, or through the City’s TTY number (text telephone) at 905- 688- 4TTY (4889).

Copyright © 2014 The Corporation of the City of St. Catharines