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OPSEU alerts Ontario Securities Commission to eyebrow raising cannabis connections


Toronto – OPSEU President Warren (Smokey) Thomas has sent a letter to the Ontario Securities Commission on some eyebrow raising activity on the stock markets involving cannabis companies.

Thomas wrote OSC Chair and CEO Maureen Jensen about the possibility that some prominent individuals with Conservative connections may have used insider knowledge to profit in the wake of the Ford government’s decision to allow private retailers to sell adult use cannabis.

“It’s hard to tell what is going on here,” said Thomas. “But where there is smoke there may be fire and it’s not the kind of smoke Ontarians want in the air.”

Premier Ford surprised everyone in late July by announcing the private sector would handle retail sales of cannabis, an about face from his earlier comments weeks earlier that he was leaning toward sticking with the public retail network set up by the previous government.

Just weeks before Ford’s about-face, one cannabis company, Hiku, was reportedly acquired by Canopy Growth for $250 million, which represented a reported 33 per cent premium to Hiku shareholders.

OPSEU contends it’s possible that individuals could have had advance knowledge that Ford was going to change course.

“Needless to say, trading on advance or undisclosed information erodes the public’s confidence and trust in the capital markets,” Thomas wrote in a letter sent on Wednesday.  “You and your office have a duty to investigate and reassure Ontarians,” he continued.

OPSEU wants the OSC to determine if anyone had advance knowledge and whether they gained an inappropriate profit.

“The need for an investigation is clear,” wrote Thomas in the letter. “Members of the public – along with investors who don’t enjoy insider connections to the premier of the day – deserve to know that the market is truly free, fair and efficient.”

For more information: Warren (Smokey) Thomas, 613-329-1931