Pubdate: Thu, 22 Feb 2018
Source: Ottawa Citizen (CN ON)
Copyright: 2018 Postmedia Network Inc.
Author: Mark Rendell
Page: NP8


TORONTO - Ontario's provincially run cannabis retailer is open to
sourcing product from growers of all sizes across the country,
according to a spokesperson for the Liquor Control Board of Ontario.

The approach appears to be in contrast to the one taking hold in
provinces such as Quebec, where the government-run Societe des alcools
du Quebec recently opted to sign sizable recreational cannabis supply
agreements with a select few large licensed producers.

In Ontario, "the process for procuring cannabis supply for the
(Ontario Cannabis Retail Corp.) will be open to all Canadian licensed
producers," said LCBO spokesperson Nicole Laoutaris in an email,
adding that "the OCRC has not yet entered into any supplier

The comment comes a day after the OCRC, a subsidiary of the LCBO,
hosted 60 licensed producers at a "supplier prep day" in Toronto. All
90 LPs across the country were invited to Tuesday 's meeting.

"It's almost sad we didn't take a group shot, because I think it
really was historic. It was probably the most LPs that had ever been
in the same room together, talking about what's likely to be the
world's biggest cannabis retailer," said John Fowler, chief executive
of The Supreme Cannabis Company Inc., who attended the meeting at the
Crowne Plaza Hotel near Toronto's Pearson International Airport.

"I feel that every LP is going to have a chance to supply the LCBO,"
he added.

"There was a commitment to be an equal opportunity retailer, whether
you're big or small, in British Columbia or P.E.I."

There's still much that's unknown about Ontario's cannabis retail
system, but the approach appears to be different than those taken by
other provinces with government-run retail monopolies, and could allay
fears that smaller LPs will have trouble gaining shelf space.

Last week, Quebec signed supply deals agreeing to purchase at least
62,000 kilograms of cannabis from six large companies: Canopy Growth
Corp., Aphria Inc., Aurora Cannabis Inc., Tilray, MedReleaf Inc. and
Hydropothecary Corp.

P.E.I. and New Brunswick have likewise inked supply deals with a small
number of companies, a mix of local players and national

With nearly 40 per cent of the country's population and more than half
of Canada's LPs, Ontario is expected to be the largest recreational
cannabis market in Canada by a significant stretch.

It's unclear how much demand there will be. But the fact that Quebec,
with a population 40 per cent smaller than Ontario, is expecting to
need at least 62,000 kilograms in the first year of recreational
legalization, points to the potential size of Ontario's cannabis market.
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MAP posted-by: Matt