Ontario considering alternative to pot wholesale model, sources say
The Ontario Cannabis Store website is pictured on a mobile phone Ottawa on Thursday, Oct. 18, 2018. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Sean Kilpatrick
TORONTO -- Ontario is considering alternative cannabis distribution models and intends to launch a consultation process in the coming weeks, according to sources familiar with the matter.
This comes after the Ontario Cannabis Retail Corp., which handles online sales and wholesale distribution of recreational pot and operates as the Ontario Cannabis Store, earlier this month said it lost $42 million in the latest fiscal year ended March 31.
The consultation also comes as the provincial government is ramping up the number of legal pot outlets to 75 by October, up from 25 retail licences currently, while edibles and other next-generation products are set to be legalized later this year.
When asked for comment, OCS spokesman Daffyd Roderick said that its wholesale and e-commerce distribution operations will continue to serve Ontarians and facilities are in place to allow for the planned expansion and new product categories.
He added in an emailed statement that the OCS "continuously considers how to improve operations and services" and it is in "constant communications" with licensed pot producers and industry partners to ensure that distribution capacity is in place.
Ontario officials are expected to consult with industry and other stakeholders in the coming weeks on potential alternative delivery models, sources told The Canadian Press.
BNN Bloomberg first reported the Ontario government's exploration of alternative options, such as pursuing a Saskatchewan-like direct-ship model rather than a wholesale cannabis distribution business.
This report by The Canadian Press was first published Sept. 27, 2019.