Crown-operated cannabis distributor suffers data breach

Sales data compromised, which could endanger business in the province

Crown-operated cannabis distributor suffers data breach


By Lyle Adriano

The Ontario Cannabis Store (OCS) – a Crown agency which oversees distribution of marijuana made by licenced producers to retailers – has reported that some of its sales data was “misappropriated,” and experts fear that the information leak could cause chaos for businesses.

On Tuesday, the OCS announced that the Ontario Provincial Police (OPP) is investigating the incident. OCS also gave assurances that the incident was "no failure of IT security or systems."

In a letter addressed to cannabis retailers on May 10, OCS said the stolen data was "misappropriated, disclosed, and distributed unlawfully" across the marijuana industry.

The Canadian Press reported that the OCS data compromised included the revenue, number of kilograms of cannabis sold, total units sold and sell-through rates for individual stores in Ontario. Three anonymous sources have also confirmed that store names, license numbers, and even information on whether a store is independently owned, run by a corporation, or by a franchisee was also leaked.

Cannabis industry members have said the data leak is cause for concern, since sales numbers are usually confidential and could threaten a business if rivals can get a hold on such information.

The data "provides a lot of really competitive insight into who's doing what, who's moving what, which retailers are selling what," Deepak Anand, founder of cannabis company Materia, told The Canadian Press.

"That certainly could be a leg up and give a leg up to competition within the industry that's looking to get ahead of the next person."

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