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Report: Ontario Dispensaries to Remain Open During Coronavirus-Related Business Shutdown

By Eric Volkman - Mar 23, 2020 at 8:01PM

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The exception could be a boon for marijuana companies like Canopy Growth.

It seems marijuana stores in Canada's capital province of Ontario will remain open for now in the wake of the SARS-CoV-2 coronavirus pandemic. A report in BNN Bloomberg, citing a pair of sources "directly familiar with the matter," says that dispensaries will not fall under the category of "non-essential businesses" that are being shut down beginning just after midnight on Tuesday, March 24.

On Monday, Ontario Premier Doug Ford mandated the temporary shutdown, a measure that will last for 14 days. The ban could be extended, depending on how the situation with the coronavirus develops in the province.

According to the statement, a complete list of "essential" businesses will be published and disseminated on Tuesday. No mention was made of cannabis companies.

Gloved hand holding marijuana leaf in front of Canadian flag.

Image source: Getty Images.

The Canadian cannabis industry has witnessed a notable increase in sales of the drug; it seems medical marijuana users are making sure they have enough product, while recreational users are buying more in order to cope with the isolation and other effects of the measures taken to combat the outbreak.

Although Ontario is the most populous Canadian province and home to the national capital, Ottawa, it has a relatively low number of dispensaries, at 50.

Despite that, a clutch of publicly traded cannabis companies are either headquartered in the province, operate stores there, or both. A high-profile example of the latter is Canopy Growth (CGC -1.66%). The company's headquarters are close to Ottawa, while Canopy Growth brands Tweed and Tokyo Smoke operate dispensaries in various locations.

Canopy Growth, along with other marijuana stocks, had a good day despite the market's latest downturn on Monday. The shares rose by nearly 6%.

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