Police Confirm Investigation into Ontario Cannabis Store Data Breach

Published: May 25, 2022

Police Confirm Investigation into Ontario Cannabis Store Data Breach

The Ontario Provincial Police (OPP) confirmed that the agency is investigating a major data breach affecting 1,200-plus regulated cannabis stores in the Canadian province. Ontario’s retail cannabis sector is reeling after it was revealed that the government-run Ontario Cannabis Store (OCS), the province’s legal wholesaler of adult-use marijuana, lost track of a significant amount of data for at least one month.

The leaked data is said to include the sales of every cannabis store in the province for December 2021 as well as store name, respective license numbers, kilograms sold that month, kilograms sold per day, total units sold, total inventory at the beginning of the month plus each store’s sell-through rate, among others. Stores have expressed concern the leaked information might increase security risk because the public could calculate approximately how much inventory each store carries day-to-day.

The data leak was publicly acknowledged by the Alcohol and Gaming Commission of Ontario in a Tuesday tweet in which the provincial cannabis store regulator denied its involvement in the leak. The AGCO tweeted that the Investigation and Enforcement Bureau, an integrated bureau within the AGCO and composed of OPP officers, has been working with the OCS regarding the leak.

It is not known when the OCS and AGCO became aware of the data breach.

The leak is the latest blow for Ontario’s cannabis retail sector, which is suffering from a glut of competition, falling prices and widespread concern over pending store closures. Ontario had 1,468 licensed cannabis stores open for business as of May 2, with another 445 active store authorization applications under review, according to data provided by the AGCO.