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Ontario cannabis execs sound alarm over alleged pay-to-play retail scheme

(This is the first in a series of stories exploring pay-to-play schemes in Canada’s cannabis industry.)

Canadian cannabis producers and brands increasingly are, in effect, paying Ontario retailers for shelf space and other special treatment for their products, according to industry executives.

These executives allege the effective use of so-called slotting fees threatens the survival of hundreds of independently owned retailers and craft cultivators, who lack the money and resources to finance such pay-to-play schemes.


The monthly fee can amount to tens of thousands of dollars or more, according to one industry source who declined to be identified for competitive reasons.

Slotting fees, common for decades in traditional retail, are a relatively new phenomenon in cannabis in both the United States and Canada.

In Ontario, regulators prohibit producers and brands from paying retailers for favorable “material” treatment.

In June, the province’s retail regulatory agency noted that

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