Ontario Cannabis Retail Corporation

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Ontario Cannabis Retail Corporation
Ontario Cannabis Store
Crown corporation
Founded2017; 2 years ago (2017)
Key people
Patrick Ford, CEO
ProductsCannabis sales and distribution
OwnerGovernment of Ontario
ParentLiquor Control Board of Ontario

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 online retailer and wholesale distributor of recreational cannabis and cannabis infused products in the Canadian province of Ontario.


After the federal government announced recreational use of cannabis would be legalized in 2017 or early 2018,[1] then Premier Kathleen Wynne commented the LCBO stores might be the ideal distribution network for stocking, controlling and selling such products.[2] 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,[3][4] 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.[5][6] 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.[7][8] OCRC also entered a partnership with Shopify to use the company's platform for operating the province's online cannabis sales.[9] 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,[10] was derided as "boring" and "underwhelming".[11][12]

Proposed change in mandate[edit]

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.[13] The Alcohol and Gaming Commission of Ontario's mandate will be widened to include regulation and licensing of private cannabis stores in Ontario.[14] 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.[15]


  1. ^ Cullen, Catherine (1 November 2016). "Legal marijuana could raise federal cash — but not right away, PBO says". CBC News. CBC. Retrieved 4 December 2016. as early as January 2018
  2. ^ "LCBO well suited to sell marijuana when legal, Kathleen Wynne says". CBC News. CBC. 14 December 2015. Retrieved 14 December 2016. Ontario premier says it makes sense to use distribution system province already has in place
  3. ^ The Canadian Press (13 December 2016). "Task force recommends setting 18 as minimum age for pot purchases". BNN. Bell Media. Retrieved 13 December 2016. recreational marijuana should not be sold in the same location as alcohol or tobacco
  4. ^ LeBlanc, Daniel (13 December 2017). "Federal task force advises wide-ranging legalization of recreational marijuana". The Globe and Mail. The Globe and Mail. Retrieved 13 December 2016. The group of experts, chaired by former Liberal minister Anne McLellan...
  5. ^ Benzie, Robert (8 September 2017). "LCBO to run 150 marijuana stores". Retrieved 12 January 2018 – via Toronto Star.
  6. ^ "Ontario government's marijuana monopoly could weed out craft growers". nationalpost.com. 8 September 2017. Retrieved 12 January 2018.
  7. ^ "Ontario Cannabis Retail Corporation Act, 2017". S.O. 2017, c. 26, Sched. 2, Act of December 12, 2017. Retrieved January 21, 2018.
  8. ^ Benzie, Robert (3 November 2017). "LCBO announces first 14 cities to have legal recreational marijuana shops". Retrieved 12 January 2018 – via Toronto Star.
  9. ^ "Shopify will manage online cannabis sales in Ontario". CBC News. The Canadian Press. September 28, 2018. Retrieved February 12, 2018.
  10. ^ "LCBO to pay agency $650,000 for branding, marketing of cannabis store, logo". Ottawa Citizen. March 10, 2018. Retrieved September 28, 2018.
  11. ^ Vomiero, Jessica (March 10, 2018). "LCBO releases logos for 'Ontario Cannabis Store,' and people are underwhelmed". Global News. Retrieved September 28, 2018.
  12. ^ "Not high on inspiration: Ontario Cannabis Store logo derided as boring". CBC News. March 10, 2018. Retrieved September 28, 2018.
  13. ^ "Ontario lays out private cannabis retail plan". BNN Bloomberg. The Canadian Press. September 26, 2018. Retrieved September 28, 2018.
  14. ^ "Cannabis: Private retail licensing and regulation". Alcohol and Gaming Commission of Ontario. Queen's Printer for Ontario. Retrieved September 28, 2018.
  15. ^ Subramaniam, Vanmala (September 26, 2018). "Ontario won't cap the number of cannabis retail licences". Financial Post. Retrieved September 28, 2018. The OCS will cease to operate as a subsidiary of the LCBO, and will be shifted under the jurisdiction of the Ministry of Finance. It will also undergo a name change, and be known as the Ontario Cannabis Retail Corporation.

See also[edit]