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Cannabis Retail Board for Ontario Revealed; Lack of Experience Worries.

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(FinancialPress) —The brand and logo under which legal cannabis will be commercialized in Ontario have been revealed. The ”Ontario Cannabis Store““s role will be to compete with the black market offering of marijuana in Canada‘s largest province.
Board members for the company were also revealed – and the public is skeptical.
The Ontario Retail Cannabis Corp.‘s, parent agency to the OCS, board will be comprised of 5 members: 2 execs from the Centre for Addiction and Mental health, the chief financial officer of a Toronto hospital, a human resources executive and a municipal law attorney.
The ORCC, in turn, also has a parent company – the Liquor Control Board of Ontario. 3 of the board members for the MJ-specific agency also hold seats in the Control Board.

The board‘s glaring lack of legal marijuana industry expertise has been a matter of concern for industry leaders. They believe it could be a limiting factor when the time comes for the Cannabis Store to win market share off of the black market after legalization is finalized.

A potential quell to those fears is the likely appointment of an industry expert as CEO of the board. Marijuana Business Daily obtained information of the potential appointment from an undisclosed industry insider source.

Differing perspectives

Abi Roach, Cannabis Friendly Business Association director sees the board‘s composition with wary eyes. He sees it as a testament that the government-owned company still views the plant through a “prohibitionist lens“, and that “it‘s not interested in seeing this as a business“.

The Hotbox Café owner added that “there‘s nobody on the board that has ever sold cannabis. They’ve probably never even talked to a cannabis consumer, beyond thinking that we’re a bunch of criminals and drug addicts.”

Omar Khan, VP of public affairs for strategic comms consultancy firm Hill+Knowlton, has a different perspective to that of Roach. He sees the appointments as a testament of the government‘s compromise to tackling the issue from an appropriate use and harm reduction angle. The participation of mental health experts showcases this, he says.

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