Ontario AG seeks emergency order to allow cannabis delivery and curbside pick-up

Ontario AG seeks emergency order to allow cannabis delivery and curbside pick-up

Ontario’s Ministry of the Attorney General has drafted a proposal seeking an emergency order to allow cannabis retailers in the province to offer delivery services or curbside pickup services to customers, just days after the province declared all recreational cannabis stores a non-essential service, forcing them to remain shut for at least the next two weeks.

The AG’s office did not immediately respond to a request for confirmation.

A draft proposal of the order viewed by the Post states that delivery and curbside pick-up services can only be offered by those who have completed the Alcohol and Gaming Commission of Ontario’s training program run by CannSell, which is currently a requirement for all cannabis retail employees.

No more than 30 grams of dried cannabis will be allowed to be delivered or picked up, according to the proposal, and can only take place between the hours of 9 a.m. and 11 p.m. on any day of the week.

ID checks will be required as they are currently for online orders from the Ontario Cannabis Store or in-person retail sales.

There are 52 brick-and-mortar cannabis stores in Ontario that were initially designated “essential” when the province on March 24 declared a shutdown of all non-essential businesses to control the spread of coronavirus.

But a mere 10 days later, Doug Ford’s government reversed course, removing cannabis from the list of essential services. Cannabis producers remain in operation because they provide medical purchases direct to patients.

“I think it’s good that the Ford government has listened to some of the urgent feedback from retailers from this province that have been on the forefront of advocating on this issue,” said Omar Yar Khan, cannabis group lead at Hill & Knowlton Strategies, a public relations firm.

Mimi Lam, who owns Ottawa-based cannabis retail shop Superette, said she is anxiously awaiting official approval for curbside pickup and delivery services because her business has suffered tremendously since it had to close down.

“It would have been devastating if we had to remain shut throughout this pandemic, not just for our employees but also in terms of providing safe options to consumers,” she said.

Lam added that foot traffic to her store had significantly dropped since mid-March, although people were buying in larger quantities.

The closure of retail stores since April 4 has been a boon for OCS.ca, where the average number of orders per day has now doubled to approximately 5,000.

“More than 30 per cent of visitors are coming to the site for the first time,” said OCS spokesperson Daffyd Roderick in a recent email, adding that the provincial wholesaler has eliminated a shipping charge for all deliveries.

Financial Post

• Email: vsubramaniam@nationalpost.com | Twitter: VanmalaS

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