This week, the Alcohol and Gaming Commission of Ontario advised cannabis retailers that curbside pickup and delivery will become permanent on March 15, 2022.
At the start of the COVID-19 pandemic, Ontario temporarily allowed retail stores to give customers the option to pick up cannabis and accessories at curbside or have them delivered. This Emergency Order was set to stay in effect for the duration of the emergency.
In October 2021, word came that the Ontario government was considering enacting the Supporting People and Business Act, that would among other things, permanently enable cannabis retailers to offer delivery and curbside pick-up services. In December, the Legislative Assembly of Ontario passed Bill 13, an omnibus bill allowing private cannabis retailers in Ontario to permanently deliver their products.
New rules for delivery still will not permit cannabis retail stores to operate entirely or predominantly as delivery businesses. The AGCO says, “The new rules will allow cannabis retailers to continue to safely offer consumers greater choice, convenience, and access to legal recreational cannabis.”
Effective March 15, 2022, the following new rules apply to cannabis retailers who wish to offer delivery or curbside pick-up:
· Delivery orders must be placed with a specific store location
· Delivery orders must originate and be fulfilled from that same store with products that are stored on-premises
· Cannabis cannot be removed from the store for delivery unless an order has been received
· If cannabis is removed from the store for delivery but the delivery is not completed, the cannabis must be returned to the same store from which the delivery originated on the same day, and it must remain there until the next day on which delivery is attempted
· Cannabis may only be delivered at a time when the physical cannabis retail store is open to the public
The AGCO has also issued new requirements for store websites, apps, or other similar online platforms:
· For websites, apps, or other similar online platforms used for the purposes of the cannabis retail store, licensees must take reasonable measures to ensure that customers accessing them are at least 19 years of age
· Licensees must display the official Ontario cannabis retail seal and make available the applicable RSA information
For full details, please refer to the AGCO bulletin.