British Columbia Announces Local Weed Delivery is Legal July 15th
A recent announcement by the British Columbia government authorizes licensed cannabis providers to deliver local, non-medical weed straight to their customers' doors starting on July 15, 2021. This post discusses earlier and future circumstances in the legal cannabis community and the effects of this new change on retailers, consumers, the government, and the local economy.
Previous Cannabis Regulations in British Columbia
British Columbia is one of the places well-known for generating the finest weed in the world. On October 17, 2018, non-medical cannabis for adult recreational use became legal in Canada. It opened the gates for retail sales and home delivery through the B.C. government’s exclusively operated online stores, but the illegal market was also eminent in British Columbia. In August 2020, the B.C. government enabled licensed, private Cannabis Retail Stores or CRS to sell online while still requiring face-to-face pick-ups by customers. Due to the COVID-19 pandemic restrictions, the number of people coming to legal cannabis stores dwindled. Meanwhile, sellers from the black market benefited, performed home deliveries, and attached posters on traffic poles to advertise their services.
Provincial officials conducted screening while police oversaw background checks and criminal records of CRS prospective workers before being hired. This process cost legal cannabis retail store owners $100 per employee and initially took months to complete. According to the government, as of 2018, more than 7,000 potential CRS laborers have completed security verification and have not shown any substantial risks indicating links to organized crime.
Moving Forward in the Legal Cannabis Industry
The Ministry of Public Safety has settled the minimum purchase and consumption age for non-medical marijuana at 19, which is in line with the minimum age for alcohol consumption. Only adults have permission to accept delivery orders, while anyone who looks younger than 19 years must present two identification documents. Recipients are not required to be residents of the delivery address but should provide their name and signature to receive the products.
The B.C. government is also eradicating security verification specifications for cannabis workers. This significantly benefits cannabis store owners. It ensures against hiring delays, expedites delivery implementation, maximizes retailers’ economic opportunities, and minimizes industry and government costs.
What It Means for Retailers
The ministry confirmed that retailers applying for a license still have to go through the screening process for security purposes. However, they will now have an edge on their illicit competitors.
On behalf of the Association of Canadian Cannabis Retailers, Executive Director Jaclynn Pehota expressed admiration for the eradication of the security screening for staff. “Government has consulted, listened and really delivered,” she stated. “Knowing retailers can start hiring without delay and be ready to better meet customers’ needs when delivery becomes an option is incredibly welcome news. Adding convenient home delivery to the mix of knowledgeable staff and regulated product can only serve to make the legal cannabis sector the source of choice for more people.”
City Cannabis owner Krystian Wetulani shared that when running a business, owners often encounter problems out of the blue, such as suddenly losing people, and that having to wait for the security verification to finish when rehiring overworks the current staff. Therefore, he is happy with the recent changes, and he says that they will have more access to their customers, putting them on a more even playing field with the black market.
Despite the outpouring of positive feedback, some store owners are not too fond of the idea of being allowed to do home delivery. Evergreen Cannabis owner Mike Babins shared his thoughts on the expensiveness of the future system. He said that he would feel pressured to offer home delivery once other legal retailers start to do it, which would require him to pay for a delivery car and its insurance.
What It Means for Consumers, the Government, and the Local Economy
Consumers will acquire another way to safely purchase local weed from legal providers in their area while supporting their local economy and British Columbia’s non-medical cannabis industry.
British Columbia’s Minister of Public Safety & Solicitor General Mike Farnworth declares that allowing home delivery helps CRS and the government's goal to have 70% market share in four years. He claims that it serves as further proof for cannabis buyers to purchase from legal stores. Last June 17, Farnworth stated, “Since the federal legalization of non-medical cannabis, we’ve been working to support a strong and diverse cannabis industry, shrink the illicit market and keep products out of the hands of children and youth,” He reported. “Allowing direct delivery to consumers isn’t just an advantage retailers have told us is vital to the viability of their sector, it’s also a way we can further our public safety goals.”
On June 9, 2021, Farnworth announced that the non-medical marijuana in the black market contains contaminants. He released testing results of illegal weed taken from six unauthorized storefront dealers in Metro Vancouver. Out of 20 samples, 18 had detectable amounts of fungicide and other contaminants mixed in them, and only three followed the specifications set by Health Canada for legal cannabis.
Allowing home delivery for legal providers of local weed and eliminating security verification for potential workers in the cannabis industry will not please everyone involved. However, it looks like it'll benefit the majority, reduce costs, and optimize safety by minimizing illicit cannabis market trade.