Ontario Cannabis Stores To Continue Operating With Customer Pick-Up Option

Ontario’s licensed cannabis stores will continue operating after all.

The Government of Ontario had ruled that cannabis stores were not an essential service during the coronavirus pandemic and ordered them to close. However, following an emergency order approved by the provincial government’s cabinet, cannabis stores will be able to continue operating on a limited basis.

The Ontario government said it made the change with the intent of curtailing the illicit market for the recreational drug.

Now, Ontario’s cannabis retailers can continue to sell their products through an online or phone ordering system where customers can pick up their orders at the store, according to Ontario Attorney General Doug Downey. The order will last for 14 days and can be extended, Downey added.

Ontario's 52 legal cannabis retailers closed their doors after the province deemed them a non-essential service to help contain the spread of coronavirus. However, the move created an environment where the illicit market could thrive in the absence of any legal cannabis retailers.

Ontario's cannabis retailers have faced several obstacles since the recreational drug was legalized in October 2018. Ontario accounted for about one-quarter of January's $154.2 million in cannabis sales across Canada, and leads the country in provincial sales, according to Statistics Canada. Online sales in the province account for between 10% and 20% of all retail activity.