Regulator issues warning after unregulated hemp products sold at licensed pot stores

TORONTO – A pair of licensed cannabis stores selling unregulated hemp products have prompted Ontario’s pot regulator to issue a warning to retailers.

TORONTO – A pair of licensed cannabis stores selling unregulated hemp products have prompted Ontario’s pot regulator to issue a warning to retailers.

The Alcohol and Gaming Commission of Ontario warned pottery stores on Monday that it had discovered cases of retailers selling products that violate the terms of their license, in a letter obtained by The Canadian Press.

“AGCO has learned that some cannabis licensees offer and sell cannabis products, such as lotions, edibles, topicals, etc., that were not purchased from Ontario Cannabis. Store (OCS), ”the regulator wrote in the letter.

The OCS is the provincial distributor of jars for Ontario.

“We have also become aware that some retailers offer and sell cannabis products in packaging other than the original OCS packaging.”

Licensed Ontario cannabis stores are only permitted to sell potted and hemp products purchased from the OCS and should keep the items in their original packaging.

Hemp products contain tiny or trace amounts of THC, the active ingredient in marijuana.

AGCO spokesperson Raymond Kahnert said in an email that the message was sent by compliance officials who became aware of hemp products offered for sale at two cannabis stores in the southwestern region of the province.

The AGCO considers items derived from hemp, such as lotions and oils, to be cannabis products, which retailers must purchase from the OCS.

The products discovered by compliance officers had not been purchased from the OCS and the two retailers immediately stopped selling the items following discussions, Kahnert said.

Jennawae McLean, co-founder of Kingston, Ontario. Cannabis store chain Calyx + Trichomes said it needed to pick up its “jawbone off the ground” when AGCO’s letter was sent to pottery store owners.

She has never heard of or seen a licensed cannabis store selling unregulated products.

“I’m completely shocked that someone is doing either of these things so brazenly,” she said.

“It’s pretty daring, blatantly breaking the law and regulations and jeopardizing your livelihood. It’s completely bananas.

Although she is unaware of the circumstances surrounding unregulated goods, she said the market for illicit products that AGCO has warned against is small and unlikely to generate much money for perpetrators.

Between July and September, the OCS website and authorized pot stores sold approximately $ 2.4 million in topicals and $ 18 million in edibles, a marked difference from sales of dried flowers from 206 million dollars recorded during the same period.

McLean was also disappointed that licensed stores offered unregulated, repackaged products, as she felt those actions ignored the long and tiresome fight by cannabis advocates to get the substance legalized in the first place.

“It is bordering on insult that someone undermines the regulatory framework that we have worked so hard to establish,” she said.

“But on the other hand, I’m sad for them because it could be an act of desperation because the store owners are struggling to compete.”

This report by The Canadian Press was first published on December 23, 2021.

Tara Deschamps, The Canadian Press


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