Ontario white-label cannabis product deals allowed, retail regulator confirms

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Cannabis retailers in Canada’s largest adult-use market will be allowed to contract with producers to create white-label and house-brand marijuana products, Ontario’s retail authority says.

In a Monday blog post, the Alcohol and Gaming Commission of Ontario (AGCO) confirmed that it had changed its mind about prohibiting such deals after marijuana industry feedback to the regulator’s February announcement it planned to prevent such deals.

The policy reversal was first reported by MJBizDaily last week.

“The AGCO takes industry feedback seriously,” the regulator noted in its blog post.

“As the cannabis sector evolves, the AGCO will continue to be responsive, including supporting innovation and flexibility in the sector while regulating in accordance with the principles of honesty and integrity and in the public interest.”

Deals to create house-brand cannabis products will still be subject to new rules on cannabis inducements that will take effect June 30, according to the blog post.

“Retailers will also need to maintain records of all agreements, which will help the AGCO better understand and monitor these activities over time,” the regulator said.

The AGCO also released an updated guidance document about those upcoming inducements rules.

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Major Canadian cannabis retailer High Tide applauded the AGCO’s move in a Monday news release.

“Today’s revisions to the Registrar’s Standards will mean that when it comes to white-label products and store brands, Ontario’s cannabis retailers will be treated on par with other retail sectors, both regulated and unregulated,” High Tide CEO Raj Grover said in a statement.

Grover added that High Tide “(intends) to move quickly” to get its upcoming house-brand products to market in Ontario.