Ontario court dismisses case of 11 disqualified pot shop applicants

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A legal battle launched by a group of 11 disqualified pot shop applicants in Ontario has been dismissed by a panel of judges, according to a court filing obtained by BNN Bloomberg.

Lawyers representing the disqualified applicants argued that their clients didn’t receive fair process when they were notified that they won the lottery.

The three judges overseeing the notice for judicial review – Justice David Corbett, Justice Katherine Swinton and Justice Robbie Gordon – ruled to dismiss the application brought forward by the disqualified applicants.

Each of the disqualified candidates stated in court filings that notification from the Alcohol and Gaming Commission of Ontario (AGCO) was received at least one day after a date-stamped notice was submitted to them via email, couriered letter or through a phone call. 

A stay on Ontario’s licensing process for the latest round of cannabis stores has also been lifted, the judges said Friday. Earlier this month, Justice Corbett had paused the process until the case was resolved.

The judges added that they will release reasons for their ruling within 10 days.

Ray Kuhnert, a spokesperson with the AGCO, said in an email that the provincial cannabis store regulator will proceed with the assessment and eligibility review of the licence applications it has received now that the stay has been lifted.

“We will be communicating revised deadlines to the applicants who were brought forward from the wait list to replace those who had been disqualified,” Kuhnert said.

“Our focus remains on moving through the lottery and licensing process as quickly as possible while continuing to apply our rigorous licensing approach in order to allow for the opening of more safe and responsible cannabis retail stores.”

Lawrence Gridin, a lawyer from Brauti Thorning LLP who represents the 11 disqualified candidates, declined to immediately comment on the ruling when reached by BNN Bloomberg.

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