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OCS continues to grow, with nearly $1.5 billion in wholesale sales in 2022-23

Media Partners, Stratcann

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The Ontario Cannabis Store helped facilitate nearly $1.5 billion in cannabis sales through the distribution of 315,000 kilograms of cannabis products across a network of more than 1,600 stores, as well as online sales, in its most recent annual report.

By provincial order, the agency was required to pay its net profits of $150 million from its cash balance into Ontario’s Consolidated Revenue Fund (“CRF”).

The report, covering the 2022-23 fiscal year ending March 31, 2023, shows the provincial cannabis distributor and online retail generated a net income of $234.2 million over the past year and revenue of $1,474.5 million, marking a growth of $293.7 million compared to $1,180.8 million in 2021–22. 

The province captured nearly 60% of the cannabis market with its sales, a continued increase in the total share of the market. 

Sales increases were assisted by establishing the OCS’ Flow-Through program, which, combined with the number of products held in stock in the distribution warehouse, grew to 2,950 SKUs, a 46.5% increase over the previous fiscal year. 

A product sold through the OCS Flow Through program sits at the OCS warehouse

The total number of units sold through the OCS, including Flow Through, was 1.4 million, supplied by 90 licensed producers from across Canada, most of which the OCS categorizes as small businesses. 

The number of stores in Ontario has continued to increase, even as store closures have also been picking up pace. Ontario added an additional 345 Authorized Cannabis Stores in the most recent fiscal year, growing to 1,661 stores across the province as of March 31, 2023. (The AGCO currently lists more than 1,700 stores as Authorized to Open.) Another 144 stores closed during this time period. 

Online cannabis sales through decreased in the last fiscal year as the provincial agency says it has made efforts to improve its wholesale service levels to retailers and deprioritized large or material enhancements to the online consumer platform.

Dried flower sales through saw a significant decline, from 49.8% of all sales in 2021-22 to 37.6% in 2022-23. Sales of generally smaller SKUs like pre-rolls, oils, capsules, vapes and concentrates, edibles and beverages increased through the online platform.

The total revenue for the OCS sales from wholesale and online sales in 2022–23 reached $1,474.5 million, marking a growth of $293.7 million compared to $1,180.8 million in 2021–22. 

Wholesale sales of vapes, pre-rolls and edibles showed growth in the most recent fiscal year, but cannabis flower still dominates with 42.7% of wholesale revenue sales in 2022-23. Combined with pre-rolls at 19.4% (non-infused), this accounts for 62.1% of total revenue share.

Vapes and concentrates represented the next largest share of revenues, with 26.2%, followed by edibles at 4.5%, oils and capsules at 3.4%, and beverages at 2.7%. Vapes and concentrates were up from 18.8% in the previous fiscal year.

The OCS will be lowering its margins on wholesale products in Q2 of 2023–24, which it expects to inject approximately $35 million into the marketplace and roughly $60 million by 2024-35 with even further planned reductions.

Currently, the fixed wholesale markup OCS charges on cannabis products ranges from 20-29%.

The total finance income for the OCS in 2022–23 reached $16.8 million, marking a growth of $14.7 million compared to $2.1 million in 2021–22. 

Ontario Cannabis Store Fixed Wholesale Mark-up Rates by Subcategory
Ontario Cannabis Store Fixed Wholesale Mark-up Rates by Subcategory. Image via OCS.

The most recent fiscal year was the most profitable year for the OCS so far, with a reported total comprehensive income of $234.2 million, compared to $184.4 million in 2021–22. 

The OCS has used these profits to repay the loan provided by the Ontario Financing Authority. In 2022–23, $7.6 million in loan principal was repaid, and $1.8 million in interest was paid, for a total payment of $9.4 million. The balance of the loan as of March 31, 2023, was $59.7 million. It completed a total of $37.6 million in payments to various governments in 2022-23.

The federal government received $27.6 million in harmonized sales tax (HST) remittances from Ontario cannabis sales in 2022–23, an increase from $27.0 million in 2021–22. The Ontario provincial sales tax component of the HST was $17.0 million in 2022–23, compared to $16.6 million in 2021–22.

On or before September 29, 2023, the Ontario Cannabis Retail Corporation was required to pay into Ontario’s Consolidated Revenue Fund (“CRF”) its net profits in the amount of $150 million from its cash balance as of March 31, 2023.

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