Cannabis retailers High Tide Inc. and Meta Growth Corp. will merge in a new deal they claim will make them the largest legal pot shop network in Canada. A young cannabis plant is shown in Fenwick, Ont., Tuesday, June 26, 2018. THE CANADIAN PRESS/ Tijana Martin

Ontario's cannabis store regulator says it will double the number of shops it authorizes this fall.

The Alcohol and Gaming Commission of Ontario says it will step up the pace of its approvals process at the province's direction.

In April, the Ontario government said the AGCO would begin to issue 20 retail store authorizations per month.

The commission says it will contact all affected applicants to advise them of the change.

The AGCO says it has issued 164 approvals to date and 150 stores are currently open.

The commission says it continues to work with the government to increase the number of cannabis store licences it approves each month.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published Sept. 1, 2020.