Quebec cannabis stores ruled ‘priority enterprises’; suppliers to stay open

(This story has been updated with a comment from Société québécoise du cannabis.)

Quebec’s government-owned cannabis stores are “priority enterprises,” and businesses producing raw materials for the stores must maintain their activities in accordance with the directives of public health authorities.

Neighboring Ontario also classified its regulated adult-use cannabis producers and retailers as “essential” this week, meaning they are not required to close their doors.

Quebec ordered the “minimization” of all nonessential services and activities until April 13 to curb the spread of COVID-19.

Quebec Premier François Legault said this week the list of priority services and activities will be continuously adapted and updated.

Quebec has 40 Société québécoise du cannabis (SQDC) stores open across the province.

Spokesperson Fabrice Giguere said SQDC is on pace to open two more stores by next week.

“For the moment we’re not scaling back on the opening hours. We’re closely monitoring the situation which is rapidly evolving,” he said via email.

The franchise has put mitigation measures in place to ensure the safety of employees and customers.

It also operates an e-commerce monopoly, however, Canada Post is no longer delivering parcels that require proof of age to customers’ doorsteps, which might impact demand.

Quebec declared a public health emergency on March 13.

The province reported 1,013 cases of the coronavirus as of Monday.

Other provinces have taken steps to promote social distancing by reducing the amount of time consumers spend in stores amid the COVID-19 pandemic.

Regulated cannabis stores in British Columbia are now allowed to accept product reservations online and over the phone. Previously, they were not allowed to do so.

A full list of Quebec’s priority services can be found here.

Matt Lamers is Marijuana Business Daily’s international editor, based near Toronto. He can be reached at [email protected].

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

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