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The OCS has issues. Ontarians suffer.

The OCS has issues. Ontarians suffer.

Have you gone to your local dispensary over the last few weeks? Did you notice anything? Specifically, did you witness empty shelves and an inability to provide you with the cannabis products you were looking to legally purchase?         

In the first week of August, the Ontario Cannabis Store (OCS) was victim of an indirect digital attack. The parent company of Domain Logistics, the operational body of the OCS Distribution Center, was subject to a digital attack, and caused a halt in shipment of all cannabis from the OCS to retailers province wide.

The attack prompted the OCS to cease operations and shipping until a full investigation could take place.

With Ontario being the largest legal cannabis market in Canada, this event frames a significant challenge with the current system. All legal cannabis flows through the OCS in Ontario. The OCS is currently experiencing “significant delays” in shipping, meaning that your local or preferred dispensary will be low on stock, or perhaps even be without any products.

Many consumers can scrounge around their stash box or pull one more pristine bud from their KookiJar to get through their day, but many consumers are purchasing in smaller amounts than before legalization. This change in buying habits is a direct reflection of supply and demand, and the growing appetite of consumers to try new and exciting products.

The challenges are mounting for the OCS. Long seen as a monopoly, the OCS is currently unable to fulfill the needs of their market: the entire province, all dispensaries, and the cannabis consuming public.

The legal cannabis market was established to eradicate the illicit market and provide consumers with a consistent flow of quality controlled, tested, and safe cannabis.

With the current lack of product availability, and no clear end to the shipping hiatus from the OCS (shipments are tentatively scheduled to resume August 30th), retailers are scrambling and consumers are clamoring. Where’s the weed? Where are my meds coming from? What are my options?

Dare we say, the system employed by the Ontario Government and the OCS is fallible - and has failed. Right now, you will be hard pressed to buy the product you are looking for. When a single point of control is established, it is imperative to overall success that this point does not fail. It’s a matter of supply and demand. Demand in Ontario is high, but the cannabis coffers at dispensaries province-wide are nearly empty. With supply short, those seeking cannabis as medicine or for recreational use may be more likely to engage in risky behavior like: buying from the illicit market, street level dealers, or unlicensed online retailers (mail-order). With activities like this, the risk of consuming inferior cannabis products increases. We aren’t talking about the perceived quality based on THC and CBD percentages, or even terpenes profiles. We are talking about unsafe levels of pesticides, foreign bodies, and molds that can seriously compromise your health.

We would never recommend purchasing cannabis from unlicensed retailers, but if you have no choice and are in desperate need – remember to inspect your buds. While spotting pesticides would be impossible, you can see foreign bodies (insect carcasses and exoskeletons) and different types of molds.

Regardless of your current supply and your level of consumption, be wary when buying from the illicit market, and always #InspectYourBuds.

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