More penalties for Ontario cannabis retailers who failed to open by deadline

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A flowering cannabis plant is seen during a tour of the Hexo Corp. facility, Thursday, October 11, 2018 in Masson Angers, Que. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian Wyld

More cannabis retailers in Ontario who failed to open their stores by a government-set deadline are facing further financial penalties.

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The Alcohol and Gaming Commission of Ontario says it has penalized nine more outlets for not serving customers by April 30.

The government chose 25 retailers through a lottery to open the province’s first brick-and-mortar cannabis stores on April 1, but fewer than half met the deadline.

The AGCO established a system of escalating financial penalties for retailers who were delayed.

The commission says it has gone ahead with a final draw-down on letters of credit submitted by seven of the licencees, taking $25,000 apiece from the $50,000 each initially provided.

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A general view of cannabis plants are shown in a grow room at Up Cannabis Inc., Newstrike Resources??? marijuana greenhouses, in Brantford, Ont. on Tuesday, January 16, 2018. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Chris Young

That means those applicants have lost their entire $50,000 letter of credit.

The commission says it has also made draw downs of $12,500 on two other applicants _ one for the first time and the other for a second time.

The Ontario Public Service Employees Union issued a statement saying the latest penalties show a need for “a responsible public option for cannabis sales.”