Demand is at an all-time high in the wake of COVID-19. But the industry is struggling
As cannabis industry professionals, we were surprised and excited then the province deemed cannabis an essential service in Ontario just a few weeks ago. In the span of 18 months, cannabis had gone from illegal to essential. It was a ray of hope in an otherwise bleak time, especially for an industry that was already struggling before the pandemic.
Retailers quickly responded to the call with better safety measures for customers and workers: Click ‘n’ collect options sprung up at some stores; cashless transactions were encouraged and distance was enforced between people and workers. But now, stores have been asked to close and are no longer essential, leaving OCS.ca as the only way to buy cannabis. We believe that rather than closing stores, we should ease cannabis regulations to allow for home delivery of products. This would better serve customers and worker safety, divert demand from the illicit market and support the province’s new cannabis economy.
For the most part, legalization in Canada has been appropriately measured. But Covid-19 means we have to rethink the ways workers and customers interact. Loosening distribution rules to allow for click ‘n’ collect and delivery will reduce human interaction and make it safer to buy cannabis.
Click ‘n’ collect was a step in the right direction, but it’s a half-measure if people are still allowed to walk in and browse at will. Banning walk-ins and permitting delivery options is the best way forward. Customers who buy online arrive to the store with proof of purchase and an age of majority card, retrieve their order, and go on their way. Retail employees can be equipped with PPE, and delivery drivers can maintain a safe distance when checking ID and dropping off the order.
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