‘Criminal’ Data Breach Affects Over 1,200 Cannabis Stores in Ontario



A large leak of details related with government-operate hashish retail merchants in Ontario, Canada put suppliers in a tailspin. Customer knowledge, nonetheless, is not aspect of the equation, and wasn’t uncovered in the course of the details breach.

The Ontario Hashish Retail store (OCS), a govt-run agency overseeing the distribution of cannabis from licensed producers to retailers, reported that some of its product sales information was “misappropriated.”

An OCS letter sent to merchants on May possibly 10 and rapidly picked up by The Canadian Push warned that private revenue details was being circulated all through the field.

“This info was not disclosed by the OCS, nor have we presented any permission or consent to distribute or use this info outside of our firm,” reads the letter, signed by Janet Ihm, vice-president of wholesale partnerships and shopper treatment at OCS. “The data was misappropriated, disclosed, and dispersed unlawfully. As a consequence, we trust you will refrain from sharing or using this stolen knowledge in any way.”

Around 1,200 retail outlets in Ontario have been afflicted. Retail cannabis retailers in Ontario rose to 1,333 by a new depend, up from 1,115 in September.

Three anonymous sources say that retail store names, license figures, and knowledge exhibiting no matter whether a retail store is independently owned, run by a corporation, or by a franchisee was also leaked. The matter is remaining investigated by the Ontario Provincial Law enforcement (OPP).

MJBizDaily verified with the OPP that the breach is becoming deemed “a criminal issue.” The data was also distributed unlawfully, according to authorities.

Reportedly the information contained rated product sales info of each hashish store in Ontario. And given that the information also confirmed kilograms offered in the course of the month, kilograms marketed per day, whole units bought, full inventory—it could put vendors at hazard.

The knowledge could conclude up in the mistaken hands or for the wrong reasons, these types of as rival retail shops. The information “provides a lot of truly competitive insight into who’s undertaking what, who’s shifting what, which shops are promoting what,” Deepak Anand, founder of cannabis organization Materia, informed The Canadian Push. “That unquestionably could be a leg up and give a leg up to competitiveness in the market that is seeking to get in advance of the next particular person.”

This sort of incident has took place before in the location.

In 2018, the OCS exposed that details for 4,500 of its customers was section of a Canada Post facts breach. The 2018 breach was uncovered to be the outcome of someone accessing knowledge by using a Canada Write-up tracking instrument. The data incorporated names of individuals who obtained pot deliveries, OCS reference quantities as very well as postal codes.

In the meantime, inhabitants are anxious about the increase in competitors. Some parts are overrun with hashish retailers, these kinds of as Toronto’s Queen Avenue West. That sooner or later led the Toronto City Council to situation a moratorium on new cannabis keep licenses. The moratorium would operate for a yr or until finally a provincial bill is place forth, permitting community communities to have a voice in the matter.

It is concentrated places of hashish retail like Queen Avenue West, exactly where competition is the most intense, that would seem to be extra vulnerable amid the data leak.

Lisa Campbell, chief government at cannabis advertising and marketing organization Mercari Agency, told The Canadian Push that it could be a “death sentence” for some of the organizations who are seeking to be acquired.

Hashish retail enterprises in Ontario experience rigid level of competition currently, so underperforming stores could undergo if their data is uncovered.