Saskatchewan cannabis delivery regulations preventing smartphone app business

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Saskatchewan cannabis delivery regulations preventing smartphone app business
WATCH ABOVE: Designated Delivery launched its alcohol service Thursday, but can’t deliver cannabis under its current business model in Saskatchewan – Feb 7, 2019

Saskatchewan’s cannabis delivery regulations don’t seem to take technology into account, according to a new delivery company.

Designated Delivery launched its Apple app-based ordering platform Thursday in Saskatoon and Kelowna, B.C.

“In a world where everybody’s shopping from their phone, why would the one thing that shouldn’t be mixed with driving be any different?” said the company’s co-founder and CEO, Sam Bahm.

However, users can only browse, buy and receive alcohol through Designated Delivery because there are “a lot of regulations in the way” preventing cannabis purchasing and delivering, Bahm said.

Under Saskatchewan law, the company is barred from advertising cannabis delivery service and it can’t include products and pricing on its app like it does with alcohol.

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The Cannabis Control (Saskatchewan) Act states unless permitted by provincial or federal rules, “no person shall canvass for, reserve, take or solicit orders for the purchase or sale of cannabis or act as agent or intermediary for the sale or purchase of cannabis.”

Bahm said users would browse a cannabis store’s inventory through the app, but the payment goes directly to the retailer.

“We’re simply the platform for them to do their shopping on,” Bahm said, adding the company is aiming to find a workaround to deliver cannabis later this year.

Designated Delivery would make its money through a fee for service and drivers would be paid through a delivery fee.

Saskatchewan Liquor and Gaming Authority (SLGA) spokesperson David Morris said in a statement only permitted cannabis retailers with storefronts can solicit online sales.

“Other online websites/apps are not authorized to solicit or facilitate sales,” Morris said.

SLGA has noted industry interest in third-party involvement like Designated Delivery, he added. The feedback will be considered in a future review of cannabis rules.

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“These restrictions exist in order to balance access for consumers with public safety and community concerns and are consistent with what is done in many other provinces,” Morris said.

Designated Delivery is available on the Apple App Store. An Android version will be released in the coming weeks on the Google Play Store.

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