Anyone opening a cannabis store in Haliburton County might have to wait longer than April to start selling.

Yesterday, the Government of Ontario announced they were going to put a cap on the number of licenses being given to private pot retailers. This announcement comes three months after the province said it would not put a cap on the number of licensed retailers. With this change, Ontario is expected to give out 25 licenses by April when retailers are allowed to sell cannabis in stores.

According to a joint statement from the Minister of Finance Vic Fedeli and the Attorney General Carolyn Mulroney, “It is the federal government’s responsibility to oversee cannabis production and to provide a viable alternative to the illegal market by ensuring there is sufficient supply to meet consumer demand. Yet, we continue to see severe supply shortages across the country in legal, licensed recreational cannabis stores,”

“we cannot in good conscience issue an unlimited number of licences to businesses in the face of such shortages and the federal government’s failure to provide certainty around future supply,” reads the statement.

The decision on which retailer gets the license to sell pot in person will be decided through the Alcohol and Gaming Commission of Ontario and a lottery based system. Which interested parties can submit an expression of interest form online between January 7th and 9th with the draw happening on the 11th. The lottery-based system is only expected to last until the province feels the federal suppliers are able to provide “enough reliable supply for Ontario.”

“This is kind of disheartening, if we don’t get at least one of the licenses in our area, that is a wasted opportunity to give our local economy a boost,” says a Haliburton resident who wished to remain anonymous, they go on to say “April is not that far off from tourist season here and now our visitors will be buying their stuff online rather than buying it here.”

As of now, Highlands East and Algonquin Highlands have both opted in to allow retail locations in the municipalities.