The BC LDB is once again moving forward with direct delivery registrations following a week-long suspension of the program due to issues relating to the current job action targeting the provincial distributor.
Producers and retailers were informed on the afternoon of August 26 that products that have been registered by approved processors/cultivators will now be available to licensed retailers.
Several cannabis producers had previously received initial approval to participate in the program by the LDB but were still waiting on final product authorizations. The LDB will again be listing those registered and approved for direct delivery products on their wholesale site for retailers.
The province initially launched the program that allows certain BC-grown cannabis products to be shipped directly to retailers, bypassing the LDB’s Richmond warehouse on August 15. The program was quickly bogged down in logistical challenges exacerbated by the BCGEU job action that began on the same day.
The LDB told producers via email on August 19 that they were in “active discussions” with their government counterparts “to determine how to proceed with the launch of the direct delivery program while operating in this dynamic environment”.
A handful of products made it through the full approval process and were authorized to ship to retailers (based on StratCann’s research these were Cake and Caviar and Camp River/Cannatek products) prior to the LDB announcing it would be paused on August 22.
Facing significant pressure from industry—including at least one producer who told StratCann they were threatening to ship products directly to their stores with or without final approval from the province—the LDB announced another change of course that they would finally be moving forward with the program.
The direct delivery program works with several layers of approvals. Cultivators need to first show they are based in British Columbia and produce no more than 3,000kg a year, then the company processing and packaging that flower also needs their own approval from the LDB. Only then can the specific product SKUs receive authorization and then be listed in the BC LDB direct delivery wholesale website for retailers.
Retailers can then contact those producers who have products listed and can arrange to have those products delivered directly to their store.
The program had been in development long before the announcement of the BCGEU job action that shut down the LDB’s distribution warehouses, including the warehouse that holds the cannabis sold in the province.