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Head of Ontario's cannabis business to step down, search underway for replacement

The head of Ontario's cannabis business plans to step down later this month, the third such departure in as many years, as the Crown corporation announces it will conduct a national search to find a new leader to oversee the organization.

The Ontario Cannabis Retail Corporation (OCRC), which oversees the Ontario Cannabis Store e-commerce site and the province's wholesale marijuana distribution, said that interim Chief Executive Officer Thomas Haig plans to leave his role, effective March 23.

"As the OCS further transitions from a scale-up organization to a mature Crown corporation, new leadership will help oversee steady-state operations," the Crown corporation said in a statement. A spokesperson for the OCRC declined to comment further on the firm's executive moves.

In the interim, the OCRC will be led by David Lobo, the organization's current chief merchandising officer. Lobo has previously held other senior executive roles including chief of staff.

The Crown corporation was previously led by former Ontario Lottery and Gaming Corp senior vice-president Cal Bricker and former LCBO executive Patrick Ford since cannabis was legalized in Canada in October 2018.

After a rocky start where Ontario's cannabis business lost $42 million in its initial year of operations, the OCRC is now profitable, earning $18.6 million during its 2019-20 financial year. It's expected to generate about $70 million in revenue in the current financial year.

As of the beginning of March, there are 455 authorized cannabis retail stores open in Ontario, according to the Alcohol and Gaming Commission of Ontario. The province has captured about 40 per cent of the legal pot market in 2020, but still lags behind the 52 per cent of the national share of recreational cannabis sales.


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