TORONTO — An Ontario court is expected to hear the case today of 11 people who won the chance to apply for a cannabis retail licence only to be disqualified shortly afterwards.

The applicants are requesting a judicial review of their rejection, as well as the procedures involved in the lottery that has been used to grant all Ontario’s pot shop licences.

The Alcohol and Gaming Commission of Ontario said in August the group had missed a deadline in the application process but the group says that’s not the case.

Earlier this month, a Toronto judge paused the licensing process for the latest round of cannabis stores until the case is resolved.

Lawyers representing the commission had contested the stay, saying it would interfere with the integrity of the lottery system.

There was also opposition from lawyers representing a new slate of applicants selected to replace the 11 eliminated.

So far, there have been two rounds of the government lottery to determine who can apply to open cannabis stores. The first involved 25 spots and the second, 42.

Lottery winners have five business days to turn in their application along with a $6,000 non-refundable fee and a $50,000 letter of credit.

The legal challenge may affect the government’s timeline to increase the number of legal pot shops in the province.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published Sept. 25, 2019.

The Canadian Press

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