Ontario Cannabis Store (OCS) Latest Cyberattack
Unlike the previous May 11 cyberattack, the OCS said customers’ information wasn’t compromised. Instead, the August 5 attack targeted the OCS’s third-party distribution centre, Domain Logistics.
In a statement, the OCS said: “However, out of an abundance of caution to protect OCS and its customers, the decision was made to shut down Domain Logistics’ operations until a full forensic investigation could be completed.”
The OSC Monopoly
Despite the Ontario Cannabis Store’s reassurances, the cyberattack likely affects customers who shop online on the OCS website. As for the roughly 1,333 cannabis stores across Ontario – they have no choice.
The OCS holds a government-backed monopoly on cannabis distribution. However, bureaucrats only “check the work” of Domain Logistics. Contracted by the OCS, Domain Logistics is a private company. Although so-called “public-private partnerships” are the norm in contemporary Western society, historically, economists have labelled state-business relationships of this nature as a kind of economic fascism.
Ontario Cannabis Store (OCS) Cyberattack Means Free Shipping
The shelves may empty at your favourite cannabis shop this week as the OSC says the cyberattack will result in delays “until further notice.”
But, “as a goodwill gesture,” the OCS will waive retailer delivery fees until September 30. They will also waive at least one $500 processing fee per store between September 1 and March 31, 2023.
Why retailers are even paying a $500 “processing fee” to begin with is a better question.
The OCS and Domain Logistics have not mentioned how soon deliveries will restart.
Are Distribution Centres Necessary?
The latest cyberattack on the OCS brings up an excellent question. Are distribution centres even necessary? A farm-to-table approach is becoming popular across the country. As well, many alcohol-based distribution models don’t require distribution centres.
When Canada first legalized cannabis, IBM Canada suggested governments track cannabis using a blockchain system. Blockchains perform as effective peer-to-peer ledgers. If we minimize most of what OCS does, Ontario wouldn’t need the central distributor.
Can the OCS handle this task without a blockchain? Tracking the movement of cannabis products throughout the Ontario economy is a momentous task. Outside of funnelling more taxpayer money into the black hole, the OCS needs some radical readjustment to make itself efficient.
A blockchain model tracks cannabis using a built-in redundancy. It increases system reliability without a high cost to Ontario taxpayers.
If Ontario must have the OCS, which will inevitably be a victim of another cyberattack, then OCS headquarters should house the blockchain servers. Its responsibilities should consist of assigning various tokens for licensees. A blockchain can use individual tickets to track cannabis sales from the LP to the retail store.
Treating Cannabis Like Alcohol & Tobacco
Governments treat cannabis in Canada like alcohol and tobacco. A social evil that they permit. Ergo, the government’s strict rules, taxes, fees, and regulations are justified. But after yet another cyberattack on the Ontario Cannabis Store, does anyone still believe this fairytale?
With legalization, the Ontario government (first under the provincial Liberals, then Conservatives) created an entirely new regulatory body. They built and leased cannabis-specific storage facilities and central warehousing locations. All of it is unnecessary and costly to cannabis consumers and Ontario taxpayers.
And this is what they have to show for it: yet another OSC cyberattack.