Gov’t ser­vice goes to pot

On­tario Cannabis Store blames grow­ers’ la­bel snafu for new de­liv­ery de­lays

Toronto Sun - - NEWS - COLIN PERKEL

On­tario’s gov­ern­ment-run on­line cannabis re­tailer, al­ready fac­ing many com­plaints in the weeks since le­gal­iza­tion, has blamed pro­duc­ers li­censed by Health Canada for what it calls a la­belling mix-up that de­layed de­liv­ery of some prod­ucts.

In an e-mail to af­fected cus­tomers this week, Patrick Ford, the chief ex­ec­u­tive of­fi­cer of the On­tario Cannabis Store, said the prov­ince’s only le­gal out­let for recre­ational pot had put in place un­spec­i­fied mea­sures to pre­vent a re­cur­rence. Ford also promised pack­ages would leave the store’s dis­tri­bu­tion cen­tre on the week­end.

“The OCS sin­cerely apol­o­gizes for how long you have had to wait for your or­der,” Ford said in the e-mail. “As a small ges­ture of our ap­pre­ci­a­tion for your pa­tience we are pro­vid­ing you with a re­fund of the $5 ship­ping fee you paid.”

Ac­cord­ing to the e-mail, the promised ship­ping re­fund ap­plies only to peo­ple who or­dered af­fected prod­ucts from the on­line store on Oct. 17 — the day recre­ational pot be­came le­gal in Canada — or Oct. 18, but not to those who or­dered in the en­su­ing days, had their pay­ments ac­cepted, but also didn’t re­ceive their pur­chased prod­uct be­cause of the mix-up.

Asked for fur­ther specifics, Ford would not say how the mis­la­belling oc­curred or which prod­ucts were af­fected. He would also not say how many cus­tomers were im­pacted, what the mis­take was cost­ing the gov­ern­ment-run agency, or what mea­sures had been put in place to en­sure the prob­lem did not hap­pen again.

“We have noth­ing fur­ther to add,” said Amanda Win­ton, com­mu­ni­ca­tions man­ager for the cannabis store.

When pressed for de­tails, Win­ton sim­ply re­peated the in­for­ma­tion Ford had put in the e-mail to cus­tomers.

“Some of the items we re­ceived from Health Canada-au­tho­rized li­censed pro­duc­ers (LPs) were mis­la­belled, and this de­layed our abil­ity to process and ship th­ese items to some of our cus­tomers, in­clud­ing those who or­dered on the first day of le­gal­iza­tion,” the spokes­woman said.

“The OCS has worked with LPs to ad­dress th­ese is­sues, and has also made changes to in­crease ef­fi­ciency and ex­pand ca­pac­ity in or­der to meet de­mand and to ful­fil or­ders that were af­fected by the la­belling is­sues.”

Health Canada had no im­me­di­ate com­ment on the sit­u­a­tion.

The On­tario Cannabis Store, put in place Oct. 17 by the gov­ern­ment of Premier Doug Ford as the only way for peo­ple in the prov­ince to ob­tain recre­ational mar­i­juana legally, has prompted an avalanche of cus­tomer com­plaints, the prov­ince’s om­buds­man, Paul Dube, has said.

Dube said last week his of­fice had re­ceived more than 1,000 com­plaints, re­quir­ing a triage team to deal specif­i­cally with the is­sue. Those com­plaints, Dube said, in­volved de­layed de­liv­er­ies, poor com­mu­ni­ca­tion with cus­tomers and billing prob­lems.

Adding to the store’s woes have been ro­tat­ing strikes at Canada Post, the com­pany the cannabis re­tailer is us­ing to get pack­ages to cus­tomers.


On­tario’s on­line pot store has re­ceived more than 1,000 com­plaints about poor ser­vice.


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