Though home deliveries of cannabis are legal as of July 15, local private retailers are saying that the provincial government isn’t making it easy for them.
“The government made it possible for us to deliver but really difficult,” Rob MacIsaac, owner of Euphoria Cannabis in Kitimat said.
According to the provincial government’s policy directive, retail owners of private cannabis stores have to own the vehicle that will be delivering the goods and the vehicle has to be commercially registered with a vehicle inspection.
Though private cannabis retailers have the ability to buy vehicles and insure them under their name so staff can deliver to customers, they still have to go through ICBC to legally register the vehicle for commercial use and insure it for multiple drivers, which could end up costing private retailers more than their delivery revenue.
“It’s not just like ordering a pizza, […] the way the law is written, I would have to give my brand new pickup truck to my staff and no store owner is going to do that,” MacIsaac said.
“The other option would be to have all of my staff, who will be delivering for me, sign their personal vehicles over to me. […] And no employee is going sign their car over to their boss.”
MacIsaac said he’s been in contact with many of the neighbouring private cannabis retailers and says he’s going to be one of the only few who will take full advantage of this opportunity as he will be personally delivering cannabis goods to his customers.
MacIsaac said that the other retailers he has been in contact with will be doing set deliveries times, sending out all their deliveries in one round trip, to avoid having to purchase a vehicle for staff, have it commercially registered, and pay additional commercial insurance.
MacIsaac went on to talk about how alcohol is able to be delivered to people’s doorstep through third-party companies but cannabis distribution is not given the same opportunity.
“Why is it that I can call [a delivery service company] and ask for seven bottles of whiskey and they’ll bring it to me, yet, I can’t call them and ask them to bring me seven joints,” MacIsaac said.
“In my view, cannabis is a safer mind-altering substance than alcohol. You don’t hear about people who were stoned on cannabis running around in a mad rage beating people, whereas, with alcohol, people tend to have a worse reaction.” MacIsaac said.
B.C. had the biggest illegal cannabis market in Canada when recreational use was legalized in 2018, and provincial public safety minister Mike Farnworth says allowing online ordering and delivery is another step to a goal of getting to 70 per cent market share for the network of government and licensed retail stores in four years.
This change builds on the August 2020 move allowing cannabis retail stores to sell products online, to provide more economic opportunities for retailers.
Adults over the age of 19 will be allowed to receive delivery orders but anyone who appears to be under 19 will have to present two pieces of identification. The recipient will not have to be a resident at the address or the person who placed the order. However, they will have to provide their name and signature to take delivery.