Ford government committed to lifting cap on pot shops in Ontario

Ontario Budget 2019: Province to serve booze at 9am, pre-authorize new pot stores and bring in ‘happy hour’
WATCH: Province to serve booze at 9 a.m., pre-authorize new pot stores and bring in 'happy hour'

The Ford government is introducing changes to how cannabis is sold across the province as part of the budget, including $40-million over two years to help implement the costs of recreational pot.

READ MORE: A dozen of Ontario’s cannabis stores penalized for not opening on time

The Progressive Conservative are proposing to lift the cap of 25 retail store authorizations across the province, which were permitted to begin opening April 1.

“The government remains committed to moving towards an open allocation of licences where the number of stores is limited only by market demand,” the budget document said.

To help open additional licenced stores, the Alcohol and Gaming Commission to pre-qualify operators that are hoping to enter market, according to the budget, includes:

-The payment of a fee or obtaining a letter of credit;
-Financial information
-Criminal and other background checks
-Information confirming lease or ownership interests in potential store locations.

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The PCs are also calling on the federal government to take steps in addressing the national marijuana supply shortage to ensure there is an adequate and predictable supply of recreational cannabis from licensed producers.

READ MORE: How the Ontario 2019 budget will affect families across the province

When it comes to expanding how recreational drugs are sold in Ontario, the Ford government is also planning major changes to the way booze is sold across the province.

The budget will permit tailgating at sporting events, allow bars and restaurants to sell alcohol starting at 9 a.m. and allow licenced establishments to advertise “happy hour.”

WATCH: First legal cannabis stores open in Ontario

First legal cannabis stores open in Ontario
First legal cannabis stores open in Ontario

The tailgating permits, announced ahead of Thursday’s budget, will allow booze to be sold at professional sporting events, semi-pro events and at eligible college and university events.

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Municipalities will also be allowed to designate public areas, such as parks, for the consumption of alcohol.
Details on what limits will be placed around “happy hour” advertisements were not included in the budget.