It shouldn’t be this hard to buy good weed in Ontario

My recent Ontario Cannabis Store purchase – from two different producers no less – had been packaged seven months earlier

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No one wants to buy seven-month-old, dry, rock-hard, throat-burning bud for top dollar. But if you’re sticking to the straight and narrow, and relying on the Ontario Cannabis Store (OCS) to hook you up, sometimes you’re going to get what you’re going to get.

During the holidays I placed an order for some terpene-rich bud. My fall harvest was abundant. But I was expecting company and wanted to have some options available for my favourite friends. So I placed an online order with OCS. Because I live in cottage country, there were no other legal options.

My two OCS selections from different LPs arrived in plastic containers. They were twice as large as required for the small amount of cannabis inside. After solving the child-proof lids, I took a look at what I had blown a hundred bucks on and sighed. Actually, I swore with disappointment. The bud had been packaged some seven months earlier, according to the information on the label. The product reminded me of shake from my university days – the kind that I’d dig up from between the cushions of my sofa when I was looking for change to make bus fare.

OCS took my concerns seriously when I called to complain. They fired off reports to the LPs. How the fact I got seven-month-old weed was the fault of the LPs was unclear.

I asked Daffyd Roderick, the director of communications for OCS, what the average age was of the cannabis in the OCS warehouse. She said that what I got is “not representative of the products” they sell.

“Once an item passes quality inspection, it is received and slotted into the warehouse for sale,” Roderick explains. “We sell products on a first in/out basis.”

This is not actually helpful for online shoppers, who can’t see the date when the product was packaged until it arrives. And once it’s open, no refund is available from OCS, old bud or not.

Roderick claims that the product will maintain full potency in an airtight container. “If a product is properly stored in a dark, dry place and in an airtight container, it should maintain its full potency until opened,” Roderick says. “We encourage customers to keep products in an airtight container to minimize air exposure.”



But according to Health Canada’s Geoffroy Legault-Thivierge (and our cannabis regulations), LPs do not have to list an expiry date on their dried flower.

So, while my product from OCS had no expiry date because it was not required to have one, I doubt the bud retained its potency. I doubt it. But shouldn’t customer satisfaction matter?

My OCS-bought bud, from two different LPs, had been stored in airtight containers. But these are not vacuumed sealed packages. Like chip bags, they are full of air, so that’s exposure, right?

It’s wonderful that OCS is following the rules in order to provide online access to legal weed. But if you’re selling cannabis at boutique prices – and I can’t see it and smell it before handing over my Visa – you should deliver something that’s worth consuming.

It just shouldn’t be this hard to sell weed.

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