Article by Mark Rendell, Financial Post
Ontario’s provincially-run cannabis retailer is open to sourcing product from growers of all sizes across the country, according to a spokesperson for the Liquor Control Board of Ontario.
The approach appears to be in contrast to the one taking hold in provinces such as Quebec, where the government-run Société des alcools du Québec recently opted to sign sizeable recreational cannabis supply agreements with a select few large licensed producers.
In Ontario, “the process for procuring cannabis supply for the (Ontario Cannabis Retail Corp.) will be open to all Canadian licensed producers,” said LCBO spokesperson Nicole Laoutaris in an email, adding that “the OCRC has not yet entered into any supplier agreements.”
The comment comes a day after the OCRC, a subsidiary of the LCBO, hosted 60 licensed producers at a “supplier prep day” in Toronto. All 90 LPs across the country were invited to Tuesday’s meeting.
“It’s almost sad we didn’t take a group shot, because I think it really was historic. It was probably the most LPs that had ever been in the same room together, talking about what’s likely to be the world’s biggest cannabis retailer,” said John Fowler, chief executive of The Supreme Cannabis Company Inc., who attended the meeting at the Crowne Plaza Hotel near Toronto’s Pearson International Airport.
“I feel that every LP is going to have a chance to supply the LCBO,” he added. “There was a commitment to be an equal opportunity retailer, whether you’re big or small, in British Columbia or P.E.I.”
There’s still much that’s unknown about Ontario’s cannabis retail system, but the approach appears to be different than those taken by other provinces with government-run retail monopolies, and could allay fears that smaller LPs will have trouble gaining shelf space.