Mislabelled weed latest headache for Ontario Cannabis Store

It's just one more hiccup in the already bumpy rollout for the online Ontario Cannabis Store: a big mistake in the description of the THC content in one of its products.

Weed producer TerrAscend Canada admits 'an incorrect description' was provided to OCS

Ontario Cannabis Store launched on October 17 and has since faced criticism from customers for a lack of communication and delays in shipping. (Sean Kilpatrick/Canadian Press)

A big mistake made in the description of a product listed on Ontario Cannabis Store (OCS) website is the latest hiccup for the only legal retailer of weed in the province.

Peter Lyon, a 27-year-old sales rep for a Toronto company, logged on to the OCS website hours after it went live to make a purchase.

"I searched for a high THC cannabis product, which was called Radiate — it was the highest one they had available," said Lyon.

"I haven't received my order yet, but I looked at my receipt and the THC content listed is very different from what I had originally ordered."

The product description on the OCS website indicated that the THC content for Radiate, which sells on the site for $9.45 a gram, as 24 per cent.

But Lyon said his receipt lists the content as 13 per cent.

Health Canada requires the THC (tetrahydrocannabinol) level to be listed on the label as a key indicator of the potency of a cannabis product.

"I mean, I compare it to going to a liquor store and if you ordered 40 per cent alcohol, but ended up with 20 per cent or something else. That could cause some problems for sure," said Lyon.

Jeremy Potvin, CEO and co-founder at Weedbox, which markets the Radiate product, said his company has been scrambling since being made aware of the mix up.

"Unfortunately, human error occurred on the night when 1.5 million people showed up to take a look (at the OCS website,)" he said.

The  OCS did not initially respond to a CBC request to clarify if someone at the provincial distributor posted incorrect information about the product.

However, on Friday, TerrAscend Canada, which actually produces Radiate, said it made the mistake, not the OCS.

"An incorrect description for one product was provided by TerrAscend Canada for the Ontario Cannabis Store website," said Ari Unterman, a vice president with the company.

Unterman said TerrAscend immediately alerted the OCS and is taking steps to stop this from happening again.

Radiate, a product marketed by Weedbox Inc., was listed as 24 per cent THC on the OCS website. But it's producer says that's due to a mistake it made, and the real THC content is 13 per cent. (supplied)

In an emailed statement to CBC Toronto, OCS communications manager Amanda Winton said "as a natural product, THC and CBD content in cannabis may vary among lots of the same strain.

"THC and CBD ranges shown on the product pages of are provided to OCS by federally-licensed cannabis producers and may differ from ranges specified on product packaging from these same producers," Winton wrote.

Weedbox is still offering to compensate consumers with online vouchers for accessories on the company's website.

'It's a little silly,' customer says

"You know the consumers did nothing wrong. They went online and found the product that they want to buy that they were looking for," Potvin said. 

Lyon said the mix-up is concerning, no matter how it happened.

"It's strange for a brand new website to make a mistake in something important as THC content. You don't want to be taking something when you don't really know what it is," he said, adding that he still hasn't received his order.

"It's been over two weeks. It's a little silly at this point."


Philip Lee-Shanok

Senior Reporter, CBC Toronto

From small town Ontario to Washington D.C., Philip has covered stories big and small. An award-winning reporter with more than two decades of experience in Ontario and Alberta, he's now a Senior Reporter for the National Network based in Toronto. His stories are on CBC Radio's World Report, World This Hour, World at Six and The World This Weekend as well as CBC TV's The National and CBC News Online. Follow him on Twitter @CBCPLS.


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