Ontario Cannabis Store shifts blame for product delays to ‘mislabeling’ by licensed producers

Photo by Sandro Schuh on Unsplash

The president of the largest marijuana retailer in Canada – the Ontario Cannabis Store – is blaming excessive shipping delays on licensed MJ producers for mislabeling some of their products.

Some customers who ordered recreational cannabis on the first day of legalization – Oct. 17 – have yet to receive their products, despite expected shipping times of three days or less and charges already made to credit cards.

In an Oct. 31 note to dissatisfied consumers, Ontario Cannabis Store President Patrick Ford said some items from licensed producers were “mislabeled” and “this delayed our ability to ship your order to you.”

The government-owned and -operated OCS is currently the only sales channel for legal marijuana sales in Ontario.

The new Progressive Conservative government adopted a private-sector approach to brick-and-mortar retailing, scrapping the previous Liberal government’s plan to open a small number of government-owned stores – but those outlets won’t open until early next year.

The OCS previously blamed delays on demand “beyond what we anticipated” and a labor dispute surrounding its exclusive shipper, Canada Post.

The OCS had said a “contingency plan” was to be implemented in the event of a Canada Post strike, but the retailer did not confirm whether the plan was ever carried out. The store noted it had “adequate product supply” to fulfill orders.

Experts worry the OCS is already suffering long-term damage to its reputation as a business.

They fear the monopoly retailer will see fewer repeat customers as a result of the inability to fulfill customer orders, which would be a boon for competing illicit-market players.

“If it is too much of a headache for consumers to switch to the legal market, they will not convert their regular shopping habits,” said Abi Roach, director of the Ontario Cannabis Consumer & Retail Alliance.

“Hence, the entire purpose of legalization has been missed, and the opportunity of a large redirect of consumers has been missed.”

Eyes on private sector 

The onus will fall on the private sector to pick up the slack if the OCS fails to accumulate meaningful, sustainable market share from the illicit sector in the coming months.

Experts foresee a frenzy of applications out of the gate, as analysts say a fully private cannabis sector in Ontario could support at least 1,000 outlets.

Saskatchewan saw 1,500 submissions for just 51 licenses.

The Alcohol and Gaming Commission of Ontario (AGCO) will be in charge of licensing, regulating and enforcing the sale of recreational cannabis through privately run stores.

The AGCO said it anticipates beginning to accept applications in December.

A leading investment bank, meanwhile, is warning investors that it is “increasingly clear” recreational marijuana sales this year will come in much lower than expected.

“The extremely limited distribution network in many provinces, fulfillment challenges in Ontario, inventory shortage in Quebec and (licensed producers) coping with limited availability of excise stamps may take several months to be resolved,” GMP Securities analyst Martin Landry wrote in a research report.

The OCS did not immediately reply to queries from Marijuana Business Daily.

Matt Lamers can be reached at [email protected]

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6 comments on “Ontario Cannabis Store shifts blame for product delays to ‘mislabeling’ by licensed producers
  1. TorontoTokeTours.com on

    TheOCS sub reddit is blowing up with negative comments it’s way more than 1000 probably over 10k all the people who will never shop online again won’t even nothing posting a compliant because they believe nothing will happen. Which I tend to agree with. The ombudsman is toothless and afraid to go after the OCS.

  2. Antony Lochmann on

    Why any Ontario resident would buy their cannabis products via credit card is perhaps the most baffling, and idiotic retail plan ever enacted.

    This policy grants exclusive access only to those with the means to use credit for transactions. These are (generally) those people who have never suffered under prohibition.

    Stupidities piled on top of elitism, mixed with a heavy dose of bullsh*t.

    This is fake legalization. I will leave the expletives out, but trust me… the is a heavy dose of them on the tip of my tongue. Shame on you Ontario Government.

  3. Cheryl on

    The lack of customer service is what irritates most. Orders were placed, payment processed and confirmation of delivery times were sent. From that point there was ZERO communication from OCS regarding order status. Terrible customer service and does not make one feel secure or eager to reorder. I placed my order on day 1 and still waiting. Definitely not impressed but not exactly like I have the legal option to take my business elsewhere.
    You have a long way to go OCS. ?

  4. steve on

    17 days since I ordered.All OCS has done is lie about why they can’t ship it.
    oh it’s canada post fault
    oh it’s the black markets fault
    oh it’s our suppliers fault

  5. Aleafia Green on

    Which idiot is going to use Canada Post to execute the bottomline of their business, only the Canadian Government uneducated ignorants apparently. The OCS is a complete disaster, officially the most hated store in Ottawa and all over Ontario. People will never return to their site. The Canadian Government officially knows nothing about Cannabis. They are so stupid and yet here they are running things, this is OUR plant you stole from us and now everything is botched. Canada Post is three weeks behind on ALL legal delivery, infact I think they are fighting because oooo ewww they don’t want to carry cannabis in their bags, suck it up you idiots, weed is light!! so I ask you again, who would trust Canada Post with their business delivery of products? only the stupid riduculous idiot government of Canada, that is who. GoC you have no right to run the rollout of Cannabis anymore, you have wrecked things, people cannot get their medicine anymore in Ontario, the ridiculous police are busting shops in Ottawa for selling a now legal product, how backwards is this, you are going to pay for all your screwups, Canadian Stupid Ignorant Government, the idiotic nomind Canada Post and ridiculous police who spend their time making life hell for people who are apparently risking their lives to provide a necessary life saving product at a time when the government has failed to. Ask yourselves why you dumb idiot police are so afraid of people having a plant to heal themselves, is it because you are so sick and ignorant yourselves? Just stop it.

  6. Aleafia Green on

    Everyone in Ontario despises the OCS. They will never recover what they lost. All their customers in Ontario will never order from them again, they are terrible horrible people who take your money and then drop you like a hot potato. How could anyone have ever believed the Ontario Government could run these shops when they know absolutely nothing about Cannabis Culture. Zero. And then there is Canada Post, ugh, We despise both you and OCS for wrecking this rollout beyond belief. You stupid idiots you. You wrecked it for all the people who need their green plant medicine and not stupid pig food, opiates, cigarettes and whiskey, crawl back under the blanket.

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