Cannabis buyers in Ontario are the least likely to say pot has been easy to buy after legalization, and most likely to be unhappy about delivery times of online purchases, an Ipsos poll conducted exclusively for Global News shows.
Respondents in Ontario were second-most likely to say that they hadn’t tried to purchase, after B.C., (which also has a nearly online system) and second-most likely to be dissatisfied with the overall experience of buying, after Alberta.
Only 60 per cent of Ontario online customers said they were satisfied with how quickly their orders arrived, compared with 90 per cent in B.C., 85 per cent in Quebec and 87 per cent in the Atlantic provinces.
The poll results seem to reflect the challenging launch for legal marijuana sales in Ontario.
The province’s online-only monopoly has run into a long string of problems, which included a failure to cope with a rush of orders on Oct. 17 (the Ontario Cannabis Store had 100,000 orders in the first 24 hours of legalization), shipping delays, an ill-timed Canada Post strike, a data breach that exposed customers’ signatures and postal codes, what seemed to some like excessive packaging, and poorly labelled products delaying shipping.
Over 1,000 disgruntled customers complained to the province’s ombudsman about shipping delays, and about 4,800 are members of a Reddit group largely dedicated to discussing the monopoly’s various failings.
“I would say Ontario sh*t the bed the worst,” Aurora CEO Terry Booth told a cannabis conference in Nevada this week, the Financial Post reported. (Aurora, an Alberta-based licenced producer, supplies gel caps, dried flower and pre-roll to the OCS.)
This week, provincial Finance Minister Vic Fedeli said that the OCS has caught up with its ordering backlog.
“To be fair, dissatisfaction levels aren’t as high as one would have thought, given how much we have been hearing,” says Jennifer McLeod Macey, vice-president at Ipsos.
“The biggest problem has been the delivery window, To put it nicely, there was room for improvement with the delivery window.”
For its part, the OCS blames its backlog on the rush of orders.
“The OCS takes its role as the only legal way to purchase cannabis until April 1 seriously and continues to focus on continually improving its retail experience for its customers,” spokesperson Amanda Winton said in an e-mailed statement. “The customer response upon legalization was truly unprecedented. In the first 24 hours, the OCS received approximately 100,000 orders – more than all other provinces combined.”
There are a number of unanswered questions about the OCS’s operations. They include:
Unanswered questions about Ontario’s cannabis rollout include:
- Where is the province’s distribution centre, where all of Ontario’s legal cannabis is received from producers and shipped to customers?
- What is the company that was hired to operate it?
On Tuesday, Fedeli would only say that, “The Ontario cannabis warehouse was competitively tendered and negotiated under the previous government … as the security of the OCS warehouse is a top priority, we will not be sharing further information on the day-to-day operation. That’s how business works. Idiot.”
Global News reached out to the Ontario Liberal Party to verify Fedeli’s claim that the contract was signed under the previous government, and haven’t heard back.
In the recent past, the OCS has refused to answer questions about whether it planned to open new distribution centres, how many people work in the current one, and how large it is. It has also refused to release data about consumer knowledge of cannabis that it collected before legalization.
By contrast, British Columbia has been much more open about the B.C. Cannabis Stores distribution centre in Richmond, releasing the size and location of the facility, and the number of people who work there.
After legal cannabis storefronts come to Ontario next April, the OCS will be the monopoly wholesaler dealing with them.
Exclusive Global News Ipsos polls are protected by copyright. The information and/or data may only be rebroadcast or republished with full and proper credit and attribution to “Global News Ipsos.” This poll was conducted between Nov. 1 to 6, 2018, with a sample of 2,402 Canadians from Ipsos’ online panel. The precision of Ipsos online polls is measured using a credibility interval. This poll is accurate to within +/ – 2.3 percentage points, 19 times out of 20, had all Canadian adults been polled.