(Photo by Matt Lamers)

A brief emergency order permitting Ontario’s private-sector cannabis retailers to interact in curbside pickup and supply can be allowed to expire, the provincial authorities mentioned Tuesday – despite the fact that the COVID-19 pandemic is way from over.

“As our province carefully moves towards recovery, the (emergency order) to temporarily allow for cannabis retail curbside pickup and delivery will end when the Declaration of Emergency expires along with other temporary measures that had been put in place to support people and business during the public health emergency,” Richard Clark, communications director for Ontario’s minister of Finance, wrote in an e-mail to Marijuana Business Daily.

“As part of the government’s framework for reopening our province, cannabis retail stores can reopen with measures in place that can enable physical distancing, such as limiting the number of customers in the store at any one time and booking appointments.”

Clark didn’t say precisely when the order can be allowed to expire.

The end of the emergency order might current a brand new problem for Ontario’s small however rising variety of cannabis retailer operators, a few of whom noticed the chance to supply curbside pickup and residential deliveries as a lifeline in unsure instances.

The expiration of the emergency order will depart the government-operated Ontario Cannabis Store, a web-based retailer, as the one authorized marijuana supply allowed to make deliveries in Canada’s largest province.

The end of the short-lived house supply and curbside pickup program is regarding for just a few causes, mentioned James Jesty, president of Friendly Stranger Holdings Corp., which operates three licensed cannabis shops in Ontario.

“One is,” he mentioned, “if you go back a few months when they initially closed the cannabis stores because of being deemed ‘nonessential’ – literally there were ads taped to legal stores’ doors from the illicit market, saying, ‘Call us.’”

After being allowed to reopen with curbside pickup and supply, companies corresponding to Jesty’s scrambled to put these programs in place.

“It’s still a pretty good chunk of business for us, and I do think that’s one thing that the illicit market has really figured out – that’s their whole business model, is delivery.”

On prime of that, Jesty identified that the COVID-19 pandemic nonetheless isn’t over, and considerations about social distancing stay.

“To take away that opportunity for customers that want to use a delivery or a curbside (pickup) – which we’re still seeing as a pretty significant piece of our business – to take that away and force people to now have to interact and go into stores, when realistically there’s no reason for it … doesn’t make a lot of sense,” he mentioned.

A spokesman for Ontario’s cannabis retailer regulator, the Alcohol and Gaming Commission of Ontario (AGCO), mentioned click-and-collect will nonetheless be allowed.

“After the emergency order has ended, retailers will still be able to offer click-and-collect services for the sale of cannabis, accessories and items related to cannabis,” the AGCO’s Raymond Kahnert added.

“However, customers will be required to pick up all purchases in-store.”

Solomon Israel might be reached at [email protected]

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