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OCS Hunts for New Leadership

The Ontario Cannabis Retail Corporation (OCRC) announced on Friday its national search for new leadership as interim CEO Thomas Haig plans to leave his role later this month. According to a statement from the OCRC, which oversees the Ontario Cannabis Store (OCS) e-commerce website as well as the province’s wholesale cannabis distribution, Haig’s contract comes to an end on March 23 and in the meantime, David Lobo, the organization’s chief merchandising officer, will take over as interim CEO.

Haig’s departure from the Crown corporation is the third since legalization. Previously, experts from other age-restricted provincial organizations such as former Ontario Lottery and Gaming Corp senior vice-president of horseracing Cal Bricker and former Liquor Control Board of Ontario executive Patrick Ford had tried their hand at running the operation, but ultimately each threw in their hat. Ford, who had been with the organization at the start of legalization, retired in September, making way for Bricker, who decided to step down from his position just over one year later. Haig was then appointed interim CEO, but now, only six months later is relinquishing his title to Lobo.

Of course, the first two years of legalization were rough for many provinces, especially one with as many hiccups as Ontario has had, so in the choppy waters, a few captains have wanted to jump ship. According to its most recent report, though, the OCS is doing just fine, reporting $251.1 million in sales during the third quarter of 2020 and $18.6 million in profits in the 2019-2020 fiscal year. Over the past year or so, the OCS has been paring down its inventory and expanding its warehouse in anticipation of the influx of new stores in the province.

Now that the storm is beginning to calm, the OCRC is looking for more permanent leadership to help “oversee steady-state operations” and continue to transition “from a scale-up organization to a mature Crown corporation.”

As of March 15, there are 510 cannabis retail stores authorized to open in Ontario.