If the rollout of legal recreational marijuana goes (more or less) smoothly this week, an Ottawa-based tech firm will be able to claim at least some of the credit.
Canadian cannabis-fanciers are expected to log on in large numbers to buy the product online after it becomes officially legal one minute after midnight tonight. In four provinces, that online shopping experience will be shaped largely by a single company: Canadian e-commerce giant Shopify.
The company was chosen to design the retail platform for online sales in Ontario, British Columbia, Prince Edward Island and Newfoundland and Labrador.
Shopify’s Vice-President and General Manager Loren Padelford laughed when asked whether he thinks he’s joining the marijuana trade this week.
“We’re not the seller of the products,” he said. “We’re the facilitator of the technology. We give people the platform to sell whatever they want, as long as that’s legal.”
Padelford points out that Shopify isn’t in the business of selling marijuana — any more than it’s in the business of selling clothing, or spa services, or any of the thousands of products now sold online using the company’s e-commerce platform.