British Columbia’s privately owned cannabis stores will be able to offer home delivery for adult-use cannabis products starting next month, in a major policy change announced by the provincial government this week.
Currently, only the government-run BC Cannabis Stores is allowed to offer home delivery.
Starting July 15, all licensed cannabis retailers will be allowed to deliver recreational cannabis products directly to consumers.
“Knowing retailers can start hiring without delay and be ready to better meet customers’ needs when delivery becomes an option is incredibly welcome news,” said Jaclynn Pehota, executive director of the Association of Canadian Cannabis Retailers in a statement.
“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.”
The province is also removing security verification requirements for cannabis workers.
“This will eliminate delays in hiring, benefiting business owners. It also enables legal retailers to hire staff more quickly to implement delivery and will reduce costs for industry and government,” according to a news release from the province.
British Columbia said it has completed security screening for more than 7,000 prospective workers and has identified no links to organized crime.
Security screening requirements will remain in place for applicants at cannabis retail stores.
“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,” said Mike Farnworth, minister of public safety and solicitor general.
Of the 542 submitted applications for cannabis stores in British Columbia, 351 licenses have been issued.
British Columbia has struggled to rein in the underground market for cannabis.
Vancouver, the largest city in the province, had the lowest per capita spending on legal adult-use cannabis products among Canadian cities last year.
That highlights both the struggles of the regulated market and the opportunity that remains.