If you live in Ontario and you ordered legal weed last week, chances are you’re still waiting on it.
Canada’s most populous province has no legal storefronts open—and won’t have any until April, due to the Progressive Conservative government’s last-minute decision to roll out a completely new framework for retail cannabis sales in the province. Storefront weed sales will now be fully private, but Ontarians are going to wait a while for them to kick in.
In the meantime, as of midnight Oct. 17, Ontarians who wanted to purchase legal weed were required to do so online through the Ontario Cannabis Store website. And within the first 24 hours, 100,000 orders were placed. But that system isn’t exactly running smoothly. Here are some of the major issues that have cropped up over the last week:
When it launched, the OCS site said orders would be shipped within one to three days for a $5 shipping fee.
I placed my order of two grams at 12:24 AM Oct. 17 and got an email confirming that I was order number 9,102. (As a side note, I had to use my credit card because the website rejected my Visa debit card, which isn’t ideal because I don’t want US border officials to see that I’ve purchased weed. But I digress.) I haven’t had any updates on my order since then, even though the one-to-three-day window has come and gone. But the OCS website is now advising people their orders could take up to three weeks to come through. There’s even a Reddit thread titled “Has Anyone’s Order Shipped from the OCS?” Of course things might get worse with Canada Post workers now going on strike in the Greater Toronto Area and Windsor.
Much of the pricing I’ve seen on the OCS website is comparable to dispensaries—I paid $22 for two grams. It seems the cheapest gram of dried bud is about $8, but there’s only one strain priced that low, everything else is at least $10. But there are some items that seemed overpriced, particularly pre-rolled joints that cost around $20 for a gram and strains that work out to about $16 a gram. Comparatively, BC has strains that start at $7 a gram.
Mislabelling/orders gone missing
The OCS website boldly declares “Shop legal. It's better to know what's in your cannabis,” but it appears the province doesn’t actually always get that information correct. Those lucky Ontarians who have received their orders aren’t always getting the right items. People are complaining that parts of their orders were cancelled without notification, or that the products they ordered were mislabelled in terms of CBD and THC content. There was also an incident where the OCS mislabelled a genital spray as a product to be ingested orally. Gross.
A lot of folks are complaining that the OCS website, powered by Shopify, isn’t user-friendly. I have to agree with that assessment. Some of the issues include the fact that you have to scroll below the fold to find out detailed strain information, and that the photos shown are only of packaging, not the actual cannabis. It’s hard to get any information from a photo of a cardboard box or pill bottle—though props to the OCS for providing 20 different angles of the same box. The site is also glitchy, at least in my experience. For example it wouldn’t save my high to low price settings. I tried out BC’s website for comparison, and it’s a lot cleaner and more intuitive.
Browsing the site today, many of the lower and higher quantities of the dried bud were out of stock.
The lucky few who’ve obtained their legal weed are complaining about the massive amount of unnecessary packaging that comes with it.
Meanwhile, in Toronto at least, cops are cracking down pretty hard on grey market dispensaries. In short, this whole rollout is a hot mess and we should all move to Alberta for a few months.
Follow Manisha Krishnan on Twitter.
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