Article by Sam Riches, Growth Op
One of the more puzzling decisions made by the Canadian cannabis industry has been the choice to abandon legacy strain names in favour of new commercial names with zero meaning or resonance to consumers. This had led to some consumers compiling their own databases to try and keep track of cannabis lineage.
But according to Peter Shearer, senior category manager at the Ontario Cannabis Store (OCS), producers have noticed and change is on the way.
During a Reddit Ask Me Anything last week, Shearer clarified that licensed producers (LPs) choose the names for their products and that “one of the learnings from the first two years of legalization is that random names disconnected from the history of the strain do not resonate with consumers. The LPs are responding well to this feedback, and many of them are now including the original strain names in the product listings, which have gotten a lot more detailed.”
Shearer said there are “plans in the works” to include more information in product descriptions, including “strain names, plant lineage, historical and geographical origin, as well as the breeder who discovered the strain.” He also hinted at the possibility of including information about the trimming and curing process for each product.
As for customers having the option to leave reviews on OCS.ca, he said that is “still a ways off, but I know it is on the map in the future.”
Shearer said that he’s working on improving the variety of seed selection available from the OCS, writing that he is “DEFINITELY committed to broadening the seed catalogue here in Ontario. It is a segment that has been underserved in the legal market. That said, we have seen some amazing operators start to emerge that have some fantastic genetics. I am excited to continue to build out this segment.”
As for clone sales, Shearer called it a “great opportunity and a necessity,” but explained that the logistics around live plant sales are difficult. Currently, clones are not available from the OCS, but six clone varieties from producer Eve and Co. are available for consumers in Newfoundland for $39.99 each.
According to the product descriptions, the clones are cut to order and take about two weeks to grow before they are shipped.
Shearer identified a “huge opportunity in the concentrates segment,” noting that new innovations in concentrates are coming down the pipeline and that there’s also a demand for large-format offerings of high-potency bud.
“Value-focused mids are not for everybody, including myself. I know this, and I know the LPs know that many consumers are willing to pay $200+ for an ounce of something special. I think premium, large-format dried flower offerings are right around the corner.”