The Ontario government says it plans to take a step-by-step approach to introducing marijuana retail stores, with only a few licenses being delivered initially.
In a statement late Thursday, the province said it will issue up to 25 licenses before the first day of private retail sales on April 1.
He says the Ontario Alcohol and Gambling Commission will implement a lottery system to determine who is eligible for the initial licenses, with the results announced in January.
The Tory province government says it has been forced to implement the phased approach because of the "severe supply shortage" being experienced by cannabis stores across the country.
The announcement comes on the same day city councilors in Toronto and Ottawa voted to allow retail stores operated by private companies to open within their borders.
The only legal way Ontario residents currently purchase recreational marijuana is through a government website, the Ontario Cannabis Store, which has experienced its own scarcity.