The Ontario government will limit the number of licences it issues to retail businesses for the sale of cannabis.

This comes on the heels of the Alberta government stopping the issue any new retail cannabis licences after receiving only 20 percent of the stock it ordered from federally licensed producers.

In a statement released Thursday,  Attorney General Caroline Mulroney and Minister of Finance Vic Fedeli announced the province will be phasing in the private sale of marijuana with only up to 25 licences being issued during the first phase beginning April 1st, 2019.

In their joint statement, the ministers said, “we cannot in good conscience issue an unlimited number of licences to businesses in the face of such shortages and the federal government’s failure to provide certainty around future supply”.

The federal government oversees the production of all legal cannabis in Canada.

The province says to ensure a fair and transparent process, the Alcohol and Gaming Commission of Ontario will implement a lottery system to determine who is eligible for the initial licences to legally operate a store in Ontario.

All interested parties will be able to submit an expression of interest form online to the AGCO from January 7 to January 9, 2019.

The expressions of interest will be put into a lottery pool for a draw. The draw will be conducted on January 11, 2019, with the results to be posted on the AGCO’s website within 24 hours.