Ontario is allowing cannabis retailers to offer delivery and curbside pick-up during the COVID-19 pandemic.
According to the Alcohol and Gaming Commission of Ontario (AGCO), this new temporary measure is the result of an emergency order introduced by the Government of Ontario on Tuesday to help fight against the illegal cannabis market.
The new order will last for 14 days, with the possibility of extension if and when the province’s Emergency Order on business closures is extended.
Physical stores shut their doors on Saturday night, as per the province’s orders.
But now, authorized cannabis stores will be permitted to sell, deliver, and offer curbside pick-up of cannabis and other items from Monday to Sunday, between 9 am and 11 pm.
According to the AGCO, the maximum purchase amount of 30 grams of dried cannabis (or equivalent) per transaction remains in place.
“We’ve been working closely with the Government of Ontario on ways to support cannabis retail store operators and legal recreational cannabis consumers since the stores were ordered to close following a provincial order declaring a state of emergency,” said Jean Major, Registrar and CEO, AGCO. “This new measure helps address consumer demand and maintain a revenue stream for store operators while supporting the government’s broader objectives.”
Curbside pick-up allows customers to order and pay for their products in advance by phone or online.
The AGCO said when the customer arrives at the store for pick up, staff will bring out the order, which must be in its original packaging, to the customer waiting in an area.
“The transaction will be captured by the store’s security cameras. Payment must be completed at the time of the order, not during the pick-up,” they added.
Only the licensed retailer or an employee may deliver cannabis on behalf of the store.
David Clement, Toronto-based North American Affairs Manager for the Consumer Choice Center (CCC), said that the revision to keep cannabis retailers open is a win for consumers, as retailers can stay open, while protecting from the spread of COVID-19.
“The only issue with the ACGO’s announcement is that this allowance is temporary,” said Clement in a statement.
“Prohibiting retailers from offering delivery was always a silly and misguided policy. Once everything has returned to normal, our hope is that retailers will continue to be allowed to offer delivery options for their consumers. Allowing for retailers to deliver will help the legal market compete with the black market, which is something that everyone should be on board with.”
While under the new provincial orders, the government is also “placing a temporary pause on the issuing of retail store authorizations.”
The AGCO will not issue new store authorizations until the government’s emergency order has been lifted.
To date, the AGCO said it has issued 423 Retail Operator Licences and 59 Retail Store Authorizations.