Last Friday was the entry deadline for Ontario’s second cannabis retail license lottery. Applicants won’t know until Tuesday whether they’re among the winners. Unfortunately, there’s much else they and provincial taxpayers don’t know, because the Ontario Cannabis Store (OCS) keeps it all secret.
OCS, also called the Ontario Cannabis Retail Corp., is a provincial crown corporation under the Ministry of Finance. It holds a legal monopoly on online recreational cannabis sales in Ontario. It’s also the sole supplier to privately owned cannabis stores.
But despite its public ownership and public mandate, OCS runs very privately. Since January, it has posted just four announcements on its news web page. And it has said almost nothing about its sales performance since legalization began. Reporters complain it’s a black hole from which no information escapes.
My own experience is similar. I emailed the friendly sounding HelloOCS office to ask when its 2019 annual report might become available. It took three weeks to respond — only to tell me to contact its media office instead. Hello, OCS?!