Toronto cannabis store owner loses ‘thousands of dollars’ after OCS cyberattack delays deliveries

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A Toronto cannabis store owner felt compelled to cut his employees’ hours to help mitigate the financial loss of marijuana deliveries delayed for days after a cyberattack on the Ontario Cannabis Store’s logistics partner.

Even still, Vivianne Wilson, founder of GreenPort, said, “I lost thousands of dollars, that’s the reality.”

Now, Wilson hopes the cyberattack can help start a conversation about how to improve the province-run delivery system that she says doesn’t make financial — or environmental — sense.

“Right now they have a complete monopoly on the industry and they’re not working with retailers as partners and that’s a huge failure,” she said. “Hopefully we can move forward, that they can learn from this experience.”

CBC Toronto has asked the OCS for comment, but has not yet received a response as of press time.

Wilson said she first got wind that her Monday delivery might not arrive on time last weekend, when OCS began sending out emails alerting retailers that there was a problem at the distribution plant and shipments might be delayed. On Monday night, she said OCS finally let it be known that the delay would be much longer due to a cyberattack.

At the time, OCS said it was halting deliveries as a precaution after its supply chain partner’s parent company, Domain Logistics, was hit by a cyberattack on August 5.

OCS said a forensic investigation by its third party, cybersecurity experts and Domain Logistics determined that no OCS fulfillment center systems or customer data had been compromised.

Cannabis stores went without delivery for a week

But many cannabis stores that have to order from OCS have not delivered jars for a week, with several saying stocks are so low they fear losing customers.

Even after Wilson received her shipment on Thursday, she said it didn’t include everything she ordered. The popular pre-rolls infused with kief – a potent form of cannabis – did not show up. Its shelves, normally full, remain relatively empty.

“It’s going to take a few days, or a few order cycles I should say, to get us back to a normal stock level,” Wilson said.

Wilson received an email from the OCS on Friday stating that Domain Logistics has “expedited the fulfillment of orders and deliveries from retail stores.”

She hopes the delay will serve as a wake-up call that having a distribution center based in Guelph, Ont., serving an entire province “is neither financially nor environmentally responsible.”

“Instead of building a system that can support the whole province, they’ve built a very small monopolized process that is clearly inefficient,” Wilson said.

The SCO and Premier Doug Ford’s government must “really look at the industry…the shortcomings and the failures and make sure they can make the necessary changes,” she said.

Wilson said the OCS’s distribution process could be much more transparent, especially after an internal data breach in May that saw its data, as well as data from other retailers, inappropriately shared.

“These things impact the trust we have with their ability to protect us, this industry and our information,” she said. “OCS needs to rebuild our trust… They definitely made decisions in silos.”

On Friday, the cannabis wholesaler said hundreds of cannabis stores are now starting to receive their deliveries. It also noted that it had added extra shifts to its fulfillment center to speed up deliveries.

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