Cannabis sales soon to be available online and over the phone in Ontario

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Photo by Brit Kovacs

On Wednesday, Nov. 6, it was announced that the province of Ontario would be looking into changing the way private cannabis retailers will be selling their products.

“As part of the Bill 138, Plan to Build Ontario Together Act, 2019, our government is proposing changes to allow consumers to reserve and purchase products online or by telephone from an authorized cannabis retailer for in-store pick up only,” said Brian Gray, ministry spokesperson for the Ministry of the Attorney General in an email statement.

“If approved by the legislature, these changes will increase consumer access to safe, legal cannabis products and help authorized cannabis retailers to better compete with illegal operators.”

Private retailers that exist already in the Ontario Cannabis Store are companies like Tweed, Tokyo Smoke and Whistler Cannabis Co.

Currently, the Ontario Cannabis Store has the monopoly in the cannabis industry since, as of right now, they are the only available online retailer.

Even with the new proposal, OCS will still have an advantage among other retailers as they are the only operators who can deliver to a consumer’s door.

“To ensure stringent age verification processes remain in place, delivery of cannabis from a retail store directly to a consumer will continue to be available exclusively online through the Ontario Cannabis Store,” Gray continued in an email statement.

“Authorized cannabis retailers are regulated by the Alcohol and Gaming Commission of Ontario (AGCO) and all employees in cannabis retail stores must complete mandatory training, which includes the age verification process.”

This is one of the many changes that comes to laws regarding cannabis after it’s legalization on Oct. 17, 2018. The legalization is a federal law, but the law regarding online and telephone ordering of the product is only for residents of Ontario.

“The Alcohol and Gaming Commission of Ontario (AGCO) is responsible for regulating Ontario’s cannabis retail stores under the Cannabis Licence Act, 2018 and Regulation 468/18,” said Raymond Kahnert, senior advisor of communications for the AGCO in an email statement.

“The AGCO’s role in the changes related to cannabis sales is in development.”

Ontario’s cannabis brick-and-mortar stores will also be increasing from 25 stores to 75 stores, tripling their numbers after only one year of cannabis becoming legal in Ontario.

Cannabis will also be legal in edible forms, with THC-infused baked goods becoming legal to consume in the province, although Health Canada has announced that there is a 60-day waiting period as licensed producers must submit their intent to sell these products.

At the moment, all these changes are proposals and any changes will require approval of the legislature due to the nature of cannabis still being newly legal.

These proposals have been brought up to decrease the number of illegal sales that still currently happen due to the strict rules that currently exist regarding cannabis, with many consumers arguing that prices are too high.

Proposals will be under review to ensure they are proper to benefit both the government, retailers and consumers, but as of right now there is no timeline as to when these proposals will become a reality.

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