In some good news for Ontario residents and retailers, the Alcohol and Gaming Commission has announced that cannabis retailers now have the green light to offer home delivery and in-store pick-up services. There will however be some tight restrictions on the activity, including limits on operating hours, and the requirement that businesses are not authorized to operate as online-only services.
The Alcohol and Gaming Commission of Ontario (AGCO) has announced that the provincial government has given the green light for cannabis retailers to offer home delivery and in-store pick-up services.
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Ontario Makes Home Delivery Permanent
In a bulletin released this week, the Alcohol and Gaming Commission of Ontario (AGCO) says the province has established rules to make permanent this expected change that was temporarily put in place during the Covid pandemic. The new rules will come into effect March 15.
Only Cannabis Retailers May Deliver, and Only to Private Residences
While Ontario is one of the easiest provinces in Canada to facilitate the growth of the cannabis industry, not all businesses will be able to deliver cannabis. Only the retail shop licensee or its employees can make deliveries, which must be made to a residence or private place, including places such as hotel rooms. Delivery by third parties is not permitted.
“Please note that the new delivery rules will still not allow retail cannabis shops to operate wholly or primarily as delivery businesses,” AGCO says. “The new rules will allow cannabis retailers to continue to safely provide consumers with greater choice, convenience, and access to legal recreational cannabis,” the announcement states.
Deliveries in Ontario Only Available During Regular Business Hours
For delivery, orders must be placed with a specific shop, orders must originate from that same shop and be filled with product stored on-site, and cannabis can only be delivered during the hours the shop is open to the public.
Ensuring Legal Age Requirements for Online Platforms in Ontario
When operating websites, apps, or similar online platforms, licensees must take reasonable steps to ensure that customers accessing them are at least 19 years of age and must display the official Ontario cannabis retail seal.
Under the current rules governing click-and-collect transactions, they must be “conducted in an area adjacent to the shop that is captured by the shop’s surveillance system.
For First Nations communities, delivery “will be permitted unless the community has requested that delivery be restricted,” the AGCO adds.
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