Ontario Cannabis Store adding seeds to catalog to ‘breathe life into category’

The Ontario Cannabis Store is aiming to create a “robust” regulated marketplace of seed varieties in an attempt to wrest market share from entrenched illicit sellers.

The provincial wholesaler is currently onboarding seeds from two companies and is in talks with several others to bring their offerings to Canada’s largest adult-use marijuana market, OCS Senior Category Manager Peter Shearer told Marijuana Business Daily.

The addition of the new seed selections – from ANC Cannabis, a micro-class license holder in Alberta, as well as British Columbia-based ProgenyBio Agricultural Services – will increase selection for consumers who currently have only one legal choice – Bakerstreet from Tweed. That product is currently out of stock.

“The addition of ANC has breathed life back into the category and opened people’s eyes to the potential of this segment,” Shearer said.

“The news of this has sparked a considerable amount of interest from other producers to come to the table with seed offerings.”

The category manager is in talks with several other companies.

“I anticipate this trend to continue, especially with smaller producers that have brought into the system very unique genetics that they have worked on for years, if not decades,” he said.

Cannabis wholesalers across Canada have struggled to maintain consistent seed inventory as most large producers have shied away from the category.

However, dozens of micro-producers are coming online with varied product offerings.

Shearer suspects the seed market is a ripe opportunity for those smaller companies.

“I think it’s a great program for micro, and it’s a great way for us to support these small players,” he said. “They’re limited in the amount of production space, but seeds are really good because you can grow a whole lot of seeds within the space that micros are restricted to.

“It’s actually a great business model for micros.”

In the next year, Shearer said, “we’re going to continue to list more and more seeds until we have a really robust portfolio that is enticing and resonates with consumers who are looking for great genetics.”

Shearer is drafting a framework for craft cannabis, which he hopes to roll out “very, very soon.”

“It is a priority for our merchandising team to understand what defines craft – and what the spirit and goals of that program is,” he said.

“This program will help highlight smaller and producers that have very artisanal procedures.”

Businesses wishing to communicate with the OCS category team can reach out to cannabis.submissions@ocs.ca.

Matt Lamers is Marijuana Business Daily’s international editor, based near Toronto. He can be reached at mattl@mjbizdaily.com.