In what it said is a response to a request from retailers, the BC government announced on Tuesday that it has amended regulations to allow private cannabis retail store (CRS) licensees to sell non-medical cannabis products online for pickup in store.
Previously, customers could reserve cannabis products online, but they were required to be physically present to complete payment and obtain their purchases.
The province said this new regulation will allow for payments to be made on a website, app or by telephone, limiting customer time in stores and permitting physically distanced pickup.
“This change responds to a request from private retailers as they continue to follow the mandates of the provincial health officer,” said BC’s Attorney General David Eby. “It supports public health and safety by reducing the amount of time customers need to spend in stores and allows them to remain physically distanced from employees and each other.”
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An additional change will permit CRS licensees with multiple stores to accept prepaid purchase cards (gift cards) at any of that licensee’s locations or through its online system. Previous regulations restricted the use of such cards to the store at which the card was purchased.
The province noted, however, in-store pickup is still required, to allow for verification of customer identity. Retailers must also include an age-verification tool in their online sales systems.
“We’ve heard from legal cannabis retailers that they want more tools to help increase competitiveness with the illegal market by allowing online sales,” said Mike Farnworth, Minister of Public Safety and Solicitor General.
By offering online sales for cannabis products, he said, “we can support the growth of a vibrant, legal cannabis industry, while also keeping public safety as our top priority.”