October 16, 2018 — I vowed to stay up until midnight Eastern time*, smoked my last illegal recreational bowl, and was amazed to find that the Ontario Cannabis Store’s website hadn’t crashed at 12:01 a.m. on October 17, Legalization Day.

[*There are two time zones in Ontario; I’m in the Central zone so I felt like I was getting a head start!]

The site started to lag as more people logged on, and not knowing a whole lot about LPs and what they had to offer, along with being totally new to things like choosing strains based on terpenes, I ultimately panicked and grabbed a few grams of things that sounded good enough to buy. It’s kind of like my method of wine shopping… I go by the name and what the bottle looks like. I’m not fancy.

Making my OCS order

My order number landed in the low 18,000s, with a gram each of Alta Vie North Star CBD, Cove Rest, and Solei Gather. I read increasingly numerous comments from Ontarians online about the selection selling out, radio silence on order status, and worries over the Canada Post rotating strikes, which of course started at the exact same time recreational legalization went live. So I was one of the luckier ones, as my order shipped out three days later, October 20.

The OCS shipping process

Canada Post moved my package out of Mississauga just before the strike shut that processing facility down, but then it sat at the final stop before making the trip to my town for five days, despite no strike action in that area. It was endlessly annoying, but at least I knew it had shipped. And then it somehow took three days to get to the point of being out for delivery, which was also mind boggling for what is a five-hour journey between Point A and Point B!

Ultimately, the small brown cube box made it to my door on October 29, 12 calendar days and eight business days from order to delivery. I learned that we do indeed have a Canada Post staffer who does door-to-door deliveries, whom I had never seen before despite living here for a decade. I signed off, brought the box in, and unpacked my historic purchase. 

What was the OCS order like when it arrived?

You can look for individual strain reviews here — in terms of an overall review, as much as I think there are definitely issues OCS needs to work out, I can’t really complain as my parcel actually shipped and made it here, and the cannabis inside was of decent quality. I was not impacted by the OCS/Canada Post privacy breach and might be a lot less charitable if I was. 

I know there are black/grey market buyers who make the very appreciable point that LP products are sub-par in price and quality compared to what’s available via mail-order, for example, but I wanted to make a legal order and see how it worked. I think OCS has work to do on stocking, shipping, and communication, and that LPs have some work to do on quality control and perhaps reducing the ridiculous amount of waste with their packaging.

I will — and did — order from OCS again. I think the system is going to change, hopefully for the good, when brick and mortar retail comes into effect in April, and when people can grow their own without worrying about their hands being tied (right now it’s legal to grow in Ontario, but there are no legal seeds until April, which is its own level of ridiculous). And of course it will all evolve as time goes on and we are collectively further away from the immediacy of recreational legalization.