Ontario announces click-and-collect system for private cannabis retailers

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The Province of Ontario announced earlier this week that private cannabis retailers will be allowed to sell products by phone or online to be picked up in store.

Until now, the only retailer that could sell cannabis online was the provincially run Ontario Cannabis Store. Provincial Finance Minister Rod Phillips made the announcement as part of the provinces’ fall economic statement saying they will continue to combat the black market and reduce waiting times for cannabis. The new “click-and-collect” system will allow consumers to search multiple retailer websites, choose their products and pick them up at the retailer they choose.

“All of the provincial jurisdictions are learning and trying to make sure that we take the best approach,” said Phillips. “Our priorities are getting rid of black market cannabis and safety in our communities.”

Initially the government had to put a cap on the number of retail stores in the province due to supply shortages but the number of storefronts is increasing from 25 to 75 this fall. The announcement also included that licensed producers can have a retail store on each of their production sites.

Vice President of Hill + Knowlton Strategies Omar Yar Khan, who advises cannabis industry clients, told sources that this will hopefully drive more people from the black market to the legal market.

“It brings an instant gratification to the consumer, and an Amazon-like experience that we don’t have right now in the province, given how long it takes for the OCS to deliver product,” said Yar Khan.

Members of the advocacy group, North American affairs for the Consumer Choice Center, applaud the government’s announcement but believe they should be doing more.

“It makes the legal market more consumer-friendly by increasing access and allowing consumers to place orders and pick them up… but it would be that much better if they coupled that with the ability for stores to provide deliver services,” said David Clement, manager of the group.

“If you got to a brewery or a distillery, often you can take a tour or talk to the master brewer. That on-site selling opportunity has been used to provide consumers with other experiences they otherwise wouldn’t have.”

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