The overwhelming success of individuals who won a chance at opening one of Ontario’s first cannabis dispensaries could mean that few of these aspiring retailers will be able to open by the April deadline, say marijuana industry insiders.

The Alcohol and Gaming Commission of Ontario (AGCO), the province’s pot regulator, on Friday provided a breakdown of the individuals and companies who applied to a lottery for a chance to get a cannabis retail licence.

Nearly two-thirds of the applicants were sole proprietorships – essentially individual entrepreneurs – while the remaining submissions came from corporations and partnerships.

With less than three months until successful applicants are expected to be up and running – those that aren’t open by April 1 face hefty fines – cannabis experts are doubtful that many of the winners have laid the necessary groundwork to pull it off.

“A lot of people may not have actually realized what the requirements will be after the winning ticket is pulled,” said Karina Lahnakoski of Cannabis Compliance, an industry consulting firm.

Experts warn that marijuana dispensaries shouldn’t be run through sole proprietorships because it exposes the owner to financial risks and limits their ability to secure capital.

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