Ontario Cannabis Store head reassigned as clock ticks on legal recreational MJ sales

The monopoly retailer for Canada’s largest marijuana market is without a permanent leader, with the first sales of legal recreational cannabis just 91 days away.

Nancy Kennedy, who was chosen president of the Ontario Cannabis Store (OCS) in April, was promoted to another government position as part of new Premier Doug Ford’s appointments of deputy ministers.

Kennedy now serves as deputy minister of the province’s Treasury Board Secretariat.

Taking her place as OCS acting president is David Phillips.

A spokesperson for the cannabis agency’s parent company, the Liquor Control Board of Ontario, confirmed the personnel moves.

Ontario’s current plan calls for 40 government-run retail outlets to be established this year and 150 by 2020 – numbers that are woefully inadequate for any serious attempt to compete with the black market, according to industry experts and academics.

Four retail locations were announced in April. No additional stores have been identified yet.

Jason Zandberg, analyst at PI Financial in Vancouver, British Columbia, says the Ontario Cannabis Store is falling behind on a retail plan he “wasn’t a fan of to begin with.”

“My ideal scenario in Ontario is for private retailers to be allowed to sell in that province, otherwise I expect Ontario to have the lowest sales per capita in the country,” he said.

The government-run provincial cannabis retailer will use Shopify’s software platform to process adult-use sales online and in brick-and-mortar stores.

Matt Lamers can be reached at [email protected]

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