Coronavirus: Ontario government temporarily allows deliveries, curbside pickup of cannabis

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Days after the Ontario government ordered cannabis retail stores to close due to the coronavirus pandemic, officials said those businesses will be temporarily allowed to offer delivery and curbside pickup services.

According to a statement by the Alcohol and Gaming Commission of Ontario (AGCO) on Tuesday, the permission was granted through an emergency order by the provincial government in an effort to “help fight against the illegal cannabis market.”

The statement said the directive, which came into force on Tuesday, will last for 14 days and the services could continue if the broader provincial emergency order on business closures is extended.

No new retail store authorizations will be issued until the government’s emergency order lifts, but retail operator licences and store authorization application were expected to continue.

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The AGCO said sales, deliveries and pickups can occur between 9 a.m. and 11 p.m. Monday to Sunday. The maximum amount of dried cannabis or an equivalent product per transaction is 30 grams.

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Anyone selling and delivering products must have CannSell certification.

“Retailers must continue to comply with all laws and regulations ensuring cannabis is not sold or delivered to anyone under 19 or who appears to be intoxicated,” the statement said.

For those looking to get products at curbside, customers will need to order and pay online or by phone in advance.

“When the customer arrives at the store for pick up, store staff will bring out the order, which must be in its original packaging, to the customer waiting in an area. The transaction will be captured by the store’s security cameras,” AGCO staff said.

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“Payment must be completed at the time of the order (and) not during the pick-up. Only the licensed retailer or an employee may deliver cannabis on behalf of the store.”

For those looking to have cannabis products delivered, the AGCO said the products must be in the original packaging and delivered to the address on the order. The person who made the order, or another resident at the home who is 19 or older, will be the only ones allowed to receive the order.

Retail stores closed to the public on Friday after the Ontario government reduced the list of essential workplaces in an effort to limit the spread of COVID-19.

As of Tuesday morning, the Ontario government said there were 4,726 cases of COVID-19 in the province. In total, 153 Ontario residents have died and 1,802 cases have been deemed resolved.

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