After cannabis is legalized, about 40 per cent of Canada's population will be buying legal weed from the Ontario Cannabis Store, that province's upcoming marijuana monopoly. New supply documents released by the OCS shed light on exactly what that cannabis shopping experience will look like for consumers.
The documents, published online Wednesday at www.doingbusinesswithocs.ca, are "product calls" for cannabis products and accessories.
Much of the new information would be of interest only to businesses seeking to become OCS suppliers. For example, OCS suppliers will have to agree to minimum two-year contracts, maintain $5 million worth of liability insurance and $15 million of recall insurance, agree to investigate complaints by OCS customers and subscribe to a "data subscription program" run by OCS.
The OCS "listing forms" for cannabis products, however, give future legal cannabis consumers in Ontario some important clues about what in-store products will look like.
Products carried at the Ontario Cannabis Store will feature product descriptions up to 500 characters in length that cannot mention the effects of the product on the human body. "An earthy product with citrus notes and a subtle hint of eucalyptus," reads a sample product description provided by OCS.
The OCS will, however, allow producers to briefly explain the "features and benefits" of their products, such as "hand-trimmed and sorted," or "hand-rolled." The product's net weight in grams will also be listed (for bud) or the number of items in a package (for capsules).
Cannabis products will show a per cent range of cannabinoid content for two key cannabinoids: THC and CBD. Cannabis products can also be categorized as either "dried flower" (i.e., bud), oils, "plant and seed," or pre-rolled joints. Further sub-categories allow producers to classify products with some limited strain information: "indica dominant," "sativa dominant," "hybrid" or "blend."Advertisement
Cannabis products carried by the OCS will be allowed to include profiles of up to five terpenes contained within. Terpenes are oily, aromatic chemical compounds produced by plants, including cannabis, with a variety of physiological effects.
Shoppers at an Ontario Cannabis Store will also be able to see the growing method used for a specific products (indoor, greenhouse, hybrid greenhouse or outdoor), "the region from which the product originates," as well as the country of origin; of course, only cannabis grown in Canada will be legal for sale.
Packaging will also include a sort of "best-before" date, described as "the anticipated number of days that product will maintain optimal performance from data of packaging."
OCS packaging will also include an ingredients list, and indicate whether the product contains food allergens such as peanuts, tree nuts, milk, eggs, fish, soy, wheat, sulphites or mustard. (Presumably these indications would apply to ingestible cannabis oils — which will become legal at the same time as weed, expected in summer or early fall — as well as edible products, which won't be legally available for up to a year from that date.)
In a separate update released by OCS Wednesday, the cannabis monopoly-to-be revealed its first four locations for cannabis stores in Guelph, Kingston, Toronto and Thunder Bay, all of which "adhere to municipal zoning bylaws, minimize proximity to primary and secondary schools and consider where illegal storefronts are currently operating."
Ontario Cannabis Stores will feature "a lobby area, before individuals would enter the main retail store," the release said.
"Consistent with federal requirements, IDs will be checked to prevent underage access to cannabis — no one under the age of 19 will be permitted entry to the main retail store. There will be no product in the lobby, as federal requirements do not permit products to be visible to youth."
In March, the OCS announced its retail stores will feature "screens throughout the physical stores that give consumers product and health information which will follow federal guidelines and marketing provisions." The OCS also revealed its stark, simple branding, a black-on-white look consisting of the letters "OCS" nestled within a circle.
The OCS is inviting Ontarians to provide online feedback about its plans.