The Ontario government says it intends to adopt a "gradual approach" to the introduction of retail stores of cannabis, with only a few licenses being first handed over.
In a statement on Thursday evening, the province says it will issue up to 25 licenses before the first day of private retail sale on April 1.
It says that the Alcohol and Gaming Commission in Ontario will conduct a lottery system to determine who is eligible for initial licenses, with published results in January.
Tory government in the province says it was forced to implement a phased approach due to "serious supply shortages" that cannabis stores across the country.
The announcement comes in the same day the councilors in Toronto and Ottawa voted to allow private shops to open within their borders.
The only legal way in which Ontario residents currently gain recreational weeds is through a government website, the Ontario Cannabis store, which experienced its shortage.