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Cannabis Retailers Struggle with Inconsistent Provincial Health Rules

CANNABIS CULTURE  – Dispensaries have switched to a Call-and-Collect or Click-and-Collect model where customers can call the store to pre-order a product or select their purchase on the store website to minimize exposure. However, according to legal cannabis sales rules, every cannabis purchase must be paid in-store and delivery options are still prohibited.

“Not everybody is able to leave their houses and walk into a store,” said Nicole Sekiya, general manager of Muse Cannabis south Grenville in Vancouver. “Few people in the higher risk group can count on family members to pick up their order for them, but this is not the case for the majority”.

Credit: The New Yorker

Click-and-Collect models do not necessarily minimize the time a customer stays in the store. “Because people still have to go to a location to buy and collect their products it is usual to see lines forming inside outside the store” added Nicole. “We do our best to maintain distance and protect staff, but isolation has been causing stress and tension and this can build to difficult situations”.

For Jack Lloyd, lawyer, advocacy could be done to allow delivery. “It happened in Ontario and other provinces, but it is not here yet. BC has been a bit slow, and it is a tendency on the province as shown in all kinds of delivery options such as Uber and Lyft”.

He also says BC has not been hit hard as other places and legislation from another province could be used as a draft to create a framework on how delivery could work here. “I think it is coming, it is just going to take time”, Lloyd added.

Other measures stated by the PHO — such as the obligatory use of masks in indoor public settings, a maximum capacity limit based on 5 square meters of unencumbered space per person, the post of directional and rule enforcing signage, and the availability of hand sanitation options.

Craig Lust, Operation Manager of Eggscanna says the biggest risk is to maintain minimum exposure for staff and clients. He is concerned that the amount of waste produced by the mandatory switch to disposable cleaning supplies will have long-term costs. “It is an increase in expenses and this will definitely have great environmental consequences in the future, but it is what we can do to keep everybody safe”, said Craig.

Nicole, Lloyd, and Craig say buying cannabis is a sensory experience and the lack of contact is the biggest struggle for businesses. Customers depend on visual and olfactory senses to be able to select their product and since stores are not allowed to have smell pods and jars available there are not many options for people aside from relying on employees’ knowledge and experience. ”How to sell it if you cannot sense it? It is a significant hurdle”, said Lloyd.

“It is a people’s industry, it requires connection”, added Craig.

Even with a vaccine, there is not a time frame for government requirements to be lifted.

Delivery options might be put in place in the future, but there are no guarantees.




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