UPDATE: Results for Ontario's pot licence lottery have been released

Ontario has announced the first 25 companies that can apply for cannabis retail licences in the province.

The Alcohol and Gaming Commission of Ontario says Tripsetter Inc., The Niagara Herbalist and Pure Alpha Holdings are among those that have been selected through a lottery.

The agency accepted expressions of interest for the licences earlier in the week.

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

Speaking to Newstalk1010's 'The Rush with Ryan Doyle and Jay Michaels' earlier today, before the lottery results were announced, Finance Minister Vic Fideli noted that this is serious business. He added that any private retailers who are not ready for the mandated opening day on April 1st, could face penalties.

"I can tell you that April 1st is the date that stores open and the penalties to the stores if they do not open on April 1st are substantial. This is very serious business."

According to AGCO, more than 17 thousand expressions of interest were submitted. Of those, 16,905 were included in the lottery draw. 415 were disqualified for various reasons.  

The licences are being divided regionally, with five going to the east of the province, seven in the west, two in the north, six in the Greater Toronto Area and five in Toronto itself.

Recreational cannabis can currently only be purchased legally in Ontario through a government-run website.

You can view the results of the lottery on the Alcohol and Gaming Commission of Ontario's website: https://www.agco.ca/cannabis/expression-interest-lottery-selection-results

With files from Newstalk1010