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3 Thoughts About Cannabis 2.0 Roll-Out in Ontario

This morning, Business of Cannabis was invited to take a peek behind the Ontario Cannabis Store (OCS) curtain at 2.0 products about to be released to Ontarians. Here are a few first thoughts about what we saw and heard from the OCS. 

Ontarians Will Have a Limited Selection of Products and Supply

Starting today, Ontario retailers can order from the OCS for their supply of new products. The first order should be on retailer shelves late next week. But, like nearly everything that has happened since October 2018, the roll out of 2.0 products in Ontario will not be as wide or deep as hoped by many. There will a large array of vape pens, but not a ton of chocolates or chews. And the supply of those products will be limited – so much so that the OCS expects that products will run out quickly on the shelves of retailers.

Here is a list of products available to retailers for next week. The same products will be available online starting mid-January on OCS.ca:

OCS list of products available to cannabis retailers as of Jan. 3, 2020.

OCS Learned from 1.0

The roll out of legal cannabis in 2018 was (ahem) challenging in 2018. It is clear the OCS, under new leadership and direction, has learned a lot. They are setting expectations for a staged roll-out of 2.0 products. The initial set of products will be limited in product forms and supply – with the expectation that this will increase over time. Concentrates and beverages, for example, are expected late February to March. As new products become available in appropriate supplies – the OCS has vowed to increase allocation to retailers. 

Education Will Be Key

For experienced consumers, the new products will be a familiar and welcome addition to the current legal lineup. For new consumers, it will be all new. From producers to the OCS to retailers and bartenders, initiating the uninitiated will be important to ensure a smooth roll out to consumers. The OCS appears to have considered all of this with the soon-to-be-added content on their website. The same content will be made available to Ontario retailers as well. 

Overall, expect this roll-out to go smoother than 1.0, with the OCS and retailers having learned about expectation-setting from the first round of legalization. That said, expect retailers to run out quickly, products to fly off the shelves and consumers continuing to want more products, more form factors and more variety – which should all come on line as 2020 moves forward.

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