AKA HITS FROM THE BONG!!!
Join us as we embark on a fabulous, fantastic voyage into legal cannabis in Ontario, Canada. Made possible by the Government of Canada, and the Ontario Cannabis Store.
The Ontario Cannabis Retail Corporation (French: Société ontarienne de vente du cannabis), operating as Ontario Cannabis Store (OCS, French: Société ontarienne du cannabis), is a Crown corporation that is the sole legal retailer of recreational cannabis in the Canadian province of Ontario.
After the federal government announced recreational use of cannabis would be legalized in 2017 or early 2018, then Premier Kathleen Wynne commented the LCBO stores might be the ideal distribution network for stocking, controlling and selling such products. The Ontario Public Service Employees Union (OPSEU), which represents LCBO staff, also lobbyied for the LCBO to have a monopoly on cannabis sales.
In response to the federal Task Force on Marijuana Legalization and Regulation recommended against selling cannabis in conjunction with alcohol, in September 2017, the Ontario government announced the LCBO would be the sole vendor of recreational marijuana to the public in that province, but not through the 651 stores that sell alcoholic beverages. A new Crown corporation, the Ontario Cannabis Retail Corporation (OCRC), was established as a subsidiary of the LCBO with a mandate to initially open 40 stores before legalization took effect in October 2018. OCRC also entered a partnership with Shopify to use the company's platform for operating the province's online cannabis sales. In March 2018, OCRC adopted the trading name Ontario Cannabis Store for its retail services. The OCS logo, designed by a Canadian subsidiary of Leo Burnett Worldwide as part of a $650,000 marketing and branding contract, was derided as "boring" and "underwhelming".
Following the 2018 provincial election, the new provincial government led by Premier Doug Ford announced the OCRC would not be opening physical stores and that cannabis sales in Ontario would instead be conducted by private stores. Under this new model, the OCRC will continue to operate the provincial online cannabis sales service and will serve as the wholesale supplier for private stores in Ontario. The Alcohol and Gaming Commission of Ontario's mandate will be widened to include regulation and licensing of private cannabis stores in Ontario. If the new legislation passes, the OCRC will also be moved under the jurisdiction of the Ministry of Finance, will no longer be a subsidiary of the LCBO and will no longer use the Ontario Cannabis Store branding.
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