Private cannabis stores in BC will now be able to use third-party delivery services.
BC announced changes to its rules today that will allow private cannabis retailers anywhere in the province to use delivery service providers.
Beginning Friday, July 8, 2022, licensed cannabis retail stores (CRSs) in BC can deliver non-medical cannabis to consumers through common carriers such as Canada Post and delivery-service providers.
Previously, the only delivery option for all BC private retailers was using their own delivery services. However, the province-run BC Cannabis Store has been able to also use a third-party service, Pineapple Express, since March of this year for any sales in BC’s Lower Mainland
Retailers must ensure that delivery service providers and common carriers delivering non-medical cannabis on their behalf comply with all relevant requirements, including those in ‘ID Requirements’ above. Like current deliveries, they will only be allowed between the hours of 9 am and 11 pm.
Retailers are only allowed to fulfill and deliver orders from the store from which the order was purchased (e.g., licensees who hold more than one cannabis retail store licence may not fulfill orders from stores other than the specific store from which the order was made).
“Since federal legalization of non-medical cannabis, we have continued to look for ways to support the cannabis industry in our province while providing safe and accessible options for British Columbians,” said Mike Farnworth, Minister of Public Safety and Solicitor General. “Expanding delivery service options not only builds equality within the market, it also gives consumers one more reason to buy legal instead of illicit.”
Retailers must also ensure that private delivery service providers and common carriers do not contact patrons separately to offer additional products for sale to be delivered with the order.
As with current delivery rules, the 30-gram possession limit does not apply to the cannabis that is being delivered.
“Private retailers welcome this expanded delivery regime,” said Jaclynn Pehota, executive director, Retail Cannabis Council of BC. “This is a significant tool for our members. Government heard our request and responded. Knowing that the government supports and is creating parity within the legal cannabis industry will help retailers thrive and will continue to ensure British Columbians have a choice as consumers.”
Mike Babins, the co-owner of Evergreen Cannabis, the first licensed non-medical cannabis retailer in Vancouver, says he was excited to see the announcement, noting it could pair nicely with the direct delivery model in allowing retailers to better differentiate themselves.
“It’s interesting this is happening at the same time that they’re allowing direct deliveries, because if that wasn’t allowed it would kind of hurt a lot of retail stores because we’d have all the same product,” he explains.
“Having a variety of products will be very helpful with this in the long term.”
Although Babins had originally looked into managing his own deliveries, the cost and logistics were just not worth the time, he says. The opportunity to offload those factors to a third party is intriguing, although he says there are still a lot of unknowns.
“It’s a huge deal,” adds Babins. “And I love how they once again casually drop it on us on a Friday with no prep. So I’m really curious about what this could mean. I’ve been trying to get delivery going since they announced it. But this would make it a lot easier because I wouldn’t have to do it all myself.”
Babins says one question he still has is what the cost of those delivery services may be.
“A big concern is that third party delivery services will do what they’re doing in the restaurant industry, which is basically hurting the bottom line of the retailers.”
Carol Gwilt, the co-owner of Weeds, with two locations in BC, says it’s a needed step in the right direction, but also hopes for future changes as well.
“We welcome the new allowance given us to deliver more efficiently to our customers, but this is just scratching at the surface if you are trying to quell the pre-existing market for Cannabis,” says Gwilt. “We look forward to more changes coming that will allow better access to better products.”