What we do: cannabis

Learn more about the AGCO's role in regulating privately-run cannabis retail stores in Ontario.


The federal Cannabis Act contains the regulatory framework for controlling the production, distribution, sale and possession of recreational cannabis in Canada. Under the Cannabis Act, each province and territory is responsible for setting its own rules for how cannabis can be sold, where stores can be located, and how stores must be operated. Provinces and territories may also set additional restrictions they feel are necessary.  

The AGCO is the regulator for privately-run cannabis retail stores in Ontario and is responsible for administering the Cannabis Licence Act, 2018 and Regulation 468/18. Specifically, the AGCO is responsible for:  

The AGCO works with licenced cannabis retail store operators to help them understand their obligations and ensure they are selling cannabis in a safe, responsible and lawful manner. AGCO inspectors inspect retail stores to confirm ongoing compliance with the Cannabis Licence Act, 2018, its regulation, and the Registrar’s Standards for Cannabis Retail Stores.  

The AGCO employs a standards-based approach to the regulation of cannabis retail. The objective of a standards-based regulatory model is to shift the focus from requiring licensees and registrants to comply with a specific set of rules or processes, towards the broader regulatory outcomes they are expected to achieve.  

The AGCO focuses on the safe, responsible and lawful sale of cannabis, consistent with provincial government legislation. The AGCO ensures that the retail sale of cannabis in Ontario is carried out with honesty, integrity and in the public interest as set out in the Cannabis Licence Act, 2018, its regulation and the Registrar’s Standards for Cannabis Retail Stores.    

There is also a separate set of standards applicable to certain cannabis retailers called the Registrar’s Standards for Cannabis Retail Stores using the Point-of-Sale Data Reporting Platform. Information regarding which cannabis retailers are required to comply with these new Standards is contained in the Standards document.