More stores, but no delivery? Ontario residents are not going to be happy with how they can purchase legal cannabis.

Supporting Associations:

Individuals.

George Smitherman - Cannabis Council of Canada
Dan Sutton - Tantalus Labs
Trina Fraser - Brazeau Seller Law
Deepak Anand - Materia Ventures
Barinder Rasode - Grow Tech Labs
Courtland Sandover-Sly - The BCICA
Ashley Chiu
Susan Chapelle - The Aligned Collective
David Purcell
Dave Brown - Industry Analyst
Patrick Moher - Ethical Image
Kieley Beaudry - Parkland Flower
David Hyde - Cannabis Global Consultants
Mark Spear - Wildfire Collective
John Prentice - Ample Organics
Lucas McCann - Canndelta Inc
Brittny Anderson - Cannabis Conservancy
Stephen Verbeek - Hello Cannabis
Ian Dyck
John Slaughter - High North
Cameron Bishop - Organigram
Gerald Proctor - Sundial Growers
Mark Hauk - Shelter
Sarah Seale - Cannabis Global Consultants
Dr. Danial Schecter - Canabo Medical Clinics
Michael Garbuz - High12 Brands
Vijay Sappani - Ela Capital

George Smitherman - Cannabis Council of Canada
Dan Sutton - Tantalus Labs
Trina Fraser - Brazeau Seller Law
Deepak Anand - Materia Ventures
Barinder Rasode - Grow Tech Labs
Courtland Sandover-Sly - The BCICA
Susan Chapelle - The Aligned Collective
Patrick Moher - Ethical Image
Kieley Beaudry - Parkland Flower
David Hyde - Cannabis Global Consultants
Mark Spear - Wildfire Collective
Caryma Sa'd - Lawyer
Mark Hauk - Shelter
Ashley Chiu
David Purcell

Alan Brochstein - New Cannabis Ventures
John Prentice - Ample Organics
Lucas McCann - Canndelta Inc
Brittny Anderson - Cannabis Conservancy
Stephen Verbeek - Hello Cannabis
John Slaughter - High North
Gerald Proctor - Sundial Growers
Sarah Seale - Cannabis Global Consultants
Dr. Danial Schecter - Canabo Medical Clinics
Michael Garbuz - High12 Brands
Paul Penderson - Nextleaf Solutions
Vijay Sappani - Ela Capital
Mika Unterman - Apical
Ian Dyck

The Problem at Hand.

Allowing for curbside pickup and delivery of retail cannabis in Ontario has helped provide consumers with access to safe and regulated products. Why is our provincial government all right with abandoning it now? When Premier Doug Ford called a state of emergency due to the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic, the Alcohol and Gaming Commission of Ontario (AGCO) allowed cannabis retail stores—52 open at the time—to operate as an "essential service" alongside grocery and convenience stores, the LCBO, and the Beer Store. The catch for cannabis retail, however, included a substantial change to operations. As per the AGCO:

"All cannabis retail stores operating during the period of the emergency order can only offer curbside pickup and delivery services, and must otherwise comply with legislation, the Registrar's Standards and the emergency order."

So, What Happened?

Retailers rose to the challenge, and the availability of cannabis through online purchasing and delivery (or curbside pickup) options resulted in several economic spikes:

Sales Increase

Ontario online cannabis purchases made a 600% jump since the beginning of March.

New Markets

New business types allowing cannabis delivery transactions to occur infiltrated the market.

Job Growth

Established delivery services got the opportunity to expand their market reach as well as their labour force.

Industry Innovations

Select retailers launched their systems for free same-day local delivery and curbside pickup.


Decreasing the Illicit Market

Daniel Safayeni, the Ontario Chamber of Commerce's director of policy and co-chairman of its Ontario Cannabis Policy Council, acknowledged that curbside pickup and delivery has allowed the private sector to compete against the illicit market.

The Situation.

With Ontario being home to four in 10 Canadians, the government's initial decision to licence a minimal amount of retail cannabis stores right off the bat may have cost Ontario hundreds of millions of dollars in lost revenues annually and hundreds of potential jobs. It undoubtedly resulted in Canada's most populous province (pop: 14.5 million) having the highest overall, yet the second-lowest per capita, sales in year one of legalization. By mid-December 2019, the Government of Ontario amended this by announcing changes to the system for issuing cannabis Retail Store Authorizations (RSA) that would substantially increase the number of store licences in Ontario within a short amount of time.

The pandemic has done little to slow down the rate at which retail cannabis stores in Ontario open their doors. As of June 23, Ontario reached 100 cannabis stores, and that number will continue rising throughout the year.

Curbside pickup and delivery services are not merely COVID-19 safety measures. They serve to further wrestle the market from the hands of illicit sellers who, according to Statistics Canada, still own the majority of the market.

Successfully displacing the illicit market requires a fair and competitive legal market whereby recreational cannabis stores get the same privileges any other retailer is entitled to, including e-commerce.

The emergency order expiration will leave the government-operated Ontario Cannabis Store, an online retailer, as the only legal marijuana source allowed to make deliveries in Canada's largest province.

We believe that if our retail cannabis stores can't provide curbside pickup and delivery, the province's retail network will struggle to develop to maturity. It will fall behind legal retail in other regions and continue to fail to compete with illicit operators.

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