British Columbia weighs online sales, delivery for cannabis stores

British Columbia says it is looking into measures to support adult-use cannabis businesses during the COVID-19 crisis, including the possibility of allowing stores to conduct online sales and delivery.

Privately owned cannabis stores in the province are allowed to accept product reservations online, but payment must be received in stores. Delivery is not allowed.

The province’s regulated cannabis industry has not seen the same surge in transactions that other provinces experienced amid the pandemic.

Sales of cannabis products in B.C. rose 12% in March compared to the previous month.

Ontario, Quebec and Alberta all reported monthly increases between 20% and 30%.

Experts cite stiff competition with the entrenched illicit market as well as the province’s unpopular online monopoly.

“The (Liquor & Cannabis Regulation Branch) is aware of interest from licensed cannabis retailers and is currently looking into measures that could be taken to support the cannabis industry during this difficult time – such as online sales and delivery,” according to an emailed statement from the Ministry of Attorney General to Marijuana Business Daily.

No timeline was provided for the consideration, which was first reported by Kamloops This Week.

“Government is continually reviewing cannabis-related policies to ensure we are supporting the continued growth of the industry while also keeping public safety our top priority,” according to the statement.

In December, British Columbia booked a record 2.5 million Canadian dollars ($1.8 million) from the federal excise tax on cannabis.

The province’s share of the tax is set to rise further in the coming months as more than 100 stores opened between January and May of this year.

British Columbia’s share of the federal duty was CA$10 million for all of 2019, according to updated data released in May.

For more of Marijuana Business Daily’s ongoing coverage of the coronavirus pandemic and its effects on the cannabis industry, click here.