On April 7, 2020, the Government of Ontario passed an emergency order to permit cannabis retail stores in the province to re-open for click-and-collect and delivery services. The emergency order, signed into law by the Lieutenant Governor, follows the Government's decision on April 3, 2020, to revise its list of essential businesses which required the closure of all private sector retail cannabis stores on April 4, 2020 (see our prior publication dated April 6, 2020, Cannabis Stores in Ontario No Longer Deemed Essential). The emergency order is in effect for 14 days and may be extended.
As a result, consumers in Ontario are now temporarily able to purchase recreational cannabis:
a. online through the government-run Ontario Cannabis Store with either:
i. delivery by Canada Post to a local post office; or
ii. direct-to-door delivery for consumers in the Greater Toronto Area as well as Hamilton, Waterloo Region and Guelph;
b. online or via a phone ordering system through Ontario's 52 private sector retail cannabis stores, provided that sales associates at the retail store have been trained under the provincial training program offered by the Alcohol and Gaming Commission of Ontario (AGCO), where either:
i. customers pick up their orders curbside at the store (referred to as "click-and-collect"); or
ii. orders are delivered to customers at home.
Customers must order and pay for their products online or by phone and sales, deliveries and pickups can only occur between 9 am and 11 pm. In addition, retailers may not use a third-party delivery service.
As alluded to in our prior publication, the AGCO has now confirmed that the government is placing a temporary pause on the issuing of retail store authorizations. The AGCO will continue to issue retail operator licences and retail manager licences and will process store authorization applications and conduct eligibility assessments to the extent possible.
The AGCO has also granted temporary relief from certain regulations contained in the Registrar's Standards for Cannabis Retail Stores. For more information on these measures, please click here.
The Cassels Cannabis Group is continuing to monitor the developments relating to COVID-19 that impact businesses and will provide updates as they become available.
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