British Columbia’s sole cannabis distributor said its warehouse has been temporarily shut down as the result of a job action by employees represented by the BC General Employees’ Union (BCGEU).
BCGEU announced the job action, including pickets, targeting the government-owned BC Liquor Distribution Branch (LDB) on Monday.
As a result, the LDB advised private-sector British Columbia cannabis retailers that its distribution center in Richmond “will not accept or ship product, assemble orders, or process invoices or purchase orders.”
Stores operated by the provincial government’s cannabis retail brand, BC Cannabis Stores, will remain open, as BCGEU said it is not currently targeting liquor or cannabis retail stores as part of its job action.
However, BC Cannabis Stores is not fulfilling online orders from its retail website.
“We sincerely apologize for this disruption and for the impact to your business,” LDB said in its Monday update.
“We recognize the news of the current job action may be concerning for vendors,” the distributor continued.
“We commit to providing updates to industry on potential impacts as they become known.”
BCGEU represents 33,000 public-sector workers in British Columbia.
The union said Friday that it is in position to legally go on strike as it seeks “appropriate cost of living protection for (members’) wages.”
The B.C. government is planning to launch a direct delivery program that will allow small cannabis cultivators to deliver products directly to stores rather than going through the LDB’s central warehouse.
Some B.C. retailers called for such a direct delivery program after weather-related delivery delays in late 2021.
The LDB is not the only provincial cannabis wholesaler in Canada to delay orders this month.
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Ontario’s government-operated monopoly cannabis distributor, the Ontario Cannabis Store (OCS), suspended shipments to retailers last week after a cyberattack on its distribution contractor.
OCS has since resumed some cannabis shipments, most recently saying it has “ramped up” fulfillment.