Article by David George-Cosh, BNN Bloomberg
Ontario-based privately-run cannabis stores will no longer be allowed to provide delivery or curbside pickup services to customers this month when a provincial emergency order expires, according to a government spokesperson.
“As our province carefully moves towards recovery, the [emergency order] to temporarily allow for cannabis retail curbside pick-up and delivery will end when the declaration of emergency expires along with other temporary measures that had been put in place to support people and business during the public health emergency,” said Richard Clark, communications director for Ontario’s Finance Minister, in an email to BNN Bloomberg.
Clark added licensed cannabis retail stores are able to reopen with measures to allow physical distancing, such as limiting the number of customers that can enter the store.
Cannabis stores in the country’s biggest consumer market were allowed to open and provide additional services such as delivery in April following an emergency order approved by the provincial cabinet amid the COVID-19 pandemic.
There are more than 100 licensed cannabis stores open in Ontario, with more than 400 applications being reviewed by the provincial regulator. Since the COVID-19 pandemic began, sales of cannabis have spiked in Canada as customers stocked up on licensed offerings.
However, the decision to end delivery is likely to hurt smaller licensed retailers who have relied on that additional service to better compete with the illicit market, which still accounts for about 80 per cent of all cannabis household spending.