The province said it is looking into allowing online sales and delivery for private cannabis stores, following criticism that legislation limits online sales to government stores at a time when people are increasingly at home.
According to a statement by the Attorney General’s office, the Liquor and Cannabis Regulation Branch is aware of interest from licensed cannabis retailers to sell online and deliver product and is looking into measures that could be taken to support the cannabis industry during the COVID-19 pandemic, including online sales and delivery.
“Government is continually reviewing cannabis-related policies to ensure we are supporting the continued growth of the industry while also keeping public safety our top of mind,” the statement reads.
No timelines were provided nor promises made to make legislative changes, however.
Calling it an unprecedented and quickly evolving situation, the ministry underscored new rules introduced during the pandemic that allow retailers to take reservations by website or telephone, measures that are not good enough, according to industry.
The Association of Canadian Cannabis Retailers is pushing the province to go further, arguing online payment allows customers to avoid contamination points and accommodates people who are unable to leave their homes.
The association said the problem with the new rules is that customers still need to pick up the product and pay for it in store — not what people have come to expect from online shopping, which includes delivery of alcohol.
One Kamloops cannabis store owner previously told KTW the provincial government has an unfair competitive advantage over private retailers in its ability to deliver and pay online.
In fact, Clarity Cannabis manager Giulio Moroni told KTW, government has a monopoly on online cannabis sales in British Columbia.
“We need to have fair competition with them,” he said.