Queen’s Park is loosening the rules around selling cannabis during the COVID-19 pandemic.
Despite cannabis stores being forced to close last weekend because they were not deemed essential under Ontario’s state of emergency, the province will temporarily allow the private retailers to offer delivery and curbside pick-up services.
“This new temporary measure is the result of an emergency order introduced today by the government of Ontario to help fight against the illegal cannabis market,” the Alcohol and Gaming Commission of Ontario announced Tuesday night.
“The order will last for 14 days, with the possibility of an extension if the government’s emergency order on business closures is extended,” the commission said.
Licenced retailers will be allowed to sell, deliver, and offer takeout services daily from 9 a.m. to 11 p.m. with a maximum purchase of 30 grams of dried cannabis — or equivalent — per transaction.
They must continue to comply with all laws and regulations ensuring weed is not sold or delivered to anyone under 19 or who appears intoxicated.
Under the new rules, customers can order or pay for their marijuana by phone or online and pick it up at the store.
“When the customer arrives at the store for pick up, store staff will bring out the order, which must be in its original packaging, to the customer waiting in an area,” the AGCO said.
“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.”
Jean Major, registrar and CEO of the commission, said “this new measure helps address consumer demand and maintain a revenue stream for store operators while supporting the government’s broader objectives.”
Cannabis retailers welcomed the move, which is similar to a previous AGCO order that allows restaurants to sell beer, wine, and spirits for takeout.