Ontario’s cannabis business posts $42-million loss in last fiscal year

Ontario said its government-owned cannabis business lost $42 million in the last fiscal year, while the province collected barely half the amount of excise taxes it estimated it would generate, in the latest symptoms of a shaky start to legalizing recreational pot in Canada’s most populous province.

The Ontario Cannabis Retail Corporation, a crown corporation that operates the Ontario Cannabis Store’s online retail business and sells wholesale cannabis to the province’s private retail stores, generated $64 million in the fiscal 2018-2019 year, according to public accounts released on Friday.

However, expenses at the OCRC ballooned to $106 million in the twelve months ending Mar. 31, up from $6 million in fiscal 2017-2018 when the government commenced operations of its cannabis business.