The Ontario Cannabis Store (OCS), the state-run cannabis retail company in Ontario, has announced its intention to sell a wide variety of cannabis seeds to gain further market share in the black market.
OCS has signed agreements with two companies, ANC Cannabis, licensed to grow micro-crops in Alberta, and ProgenyBio Agricultural Services, based in British Columbia, and is currently negotiating with several other companies to further expand its seed catalog. Currently, OCS sells only one variety of cannabis seeds, Tweed’s Baker Street (the original Kush strain), a product that is regularly out of stock.
Cannabis seeds are legally complicated to find in Canada, as most licensed growers focus on selling flowers or derivatives rather than seeds for self-cultivation. Potential customers therefore mechanically turn to the historical seed banks, which are considered a black market in the new era of Canadian cannabis legalization.
Although it addresses the largest legal cannabis market in the world, the Canadian industry still struggles to compete with the illegal market for many reasons: poor quality, high prices, lack of choice, complicated access, etc. Some companies have introduced discount lines of weed to enhance their competitiveness, but low prices and high quality continue to attract customers to illegal cannabis.
Here Ontario hopes to offer an alternative to black-market seeds. Seed sales could also be a boon to small, specialized companies that would cover this segment that has been neglected by the larger companies.