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UberEats to offer cannabis delivery in Toronto. Here’s how it will work

Click to play video: 'UberEats indulges in high times, will make cannabis deliveries'
UberEats indulges in high times, will make cannabis deliveries
UberEats joint venture with Leafly will see former use it’s platform to begin delivering cannabis to the homes of Torontonians. Ahmar Khan reports – Oct 16, 2022

Starting Oct. 17, UberEats is bringing cannabis delivery to Toronto, the company announced Sunday.

In a partnership with cannabis website Leafly, this will be the first time in the world that cannabis delivery is available on a major third-party platform.

To start, UberEats will deliver to customers in Toronto from three retailers — Hidden Leaf Cannabis, Minerva Cannabis and Shivaa’s Rose.

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“We are partnering with industry leaders like Leafly to help retailers offer safe, convenient options for people in Toronto to purchase legal cannabis for delivery to their homes, which will help combat the illegal market and help reduce impaired driving,” said Lola Kassim, General Manager of Uber Eats Canada.

“Over the last few years, we have invested heavily in our delivery business and selection has expanded tremendously. Uber Eats has grown quickly to become a versatile platform usable by diverse businesses large and small.”

To order, customers over the age of 19 will have to head to the UberEats app and select the “cannabis” category, or search for one of the cannabis retailers.

Read more: Uber, Tokyo Smoke team up to allow Ontario pot purchases through Eats app

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The order will be delivered by the cannabis retailers own CannSell certified staff.

When the delivery arrives, a customer’s age and sobriety will be verified.

“Leafly has been empowering the cannabis marketplace in Canada for more than four years and we support more than 200 cannabis retailers in the GTA. We are thrilled to work with Uber Eats to help licenced retailers bring safe, legal cannabis to people across the city,” said Yoko Miyashita, CEO of Leafly.

Almost 57 per cent of cannabis purchased in Ontario between the start of January and the end of March was bought through legal channels, the Ontario Cannabis Store (OCS) revealed last week. The finding is based on data reported by consumers to Statistics Canada, leading many to caution such numbers could be skewed because shoppers are less likely to admit illicit pot purchases to government bodies.

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Uber isn’t completely new to the cannabis business. Uber Eats users have been able to order cannabis products for pickup from Tokyo Smoke stores since November, but the partnership did not allow for deliveries like the new Leafly deal does.

Deliveries were made possible when Ontario temporarily allowed cannabis stores to courier orders to customers in 2020 as COVID-19 restrictions closed pot shops.

The policy was made permanent in March and came with several stipulations from the Alcohol and Gaming Commission of Ontario (AGCO), the province’s pot regulator.

Click to play video: 'Consumer Matters: Uber Eats frustration'
Consumer Matters: Uber Eats frustration

Companies operating cannabis delivery businesses cannot operate entirely or predominately through delivery, orders must be placed with and fulfilled by specific stores versus a network of shops and pot can only be dropped off to customers when the shop it originates from is open to customers.

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The AGCO does not allow deliveries to be made by third-parties and products can only be couriered by those with a retail store authorization or their employees.

Thus, Uber Eats couriers dropping off munchies won’t be making pot deliveries too. Stores will hire and train their own staff to deliver orders placed through Uber’s software.

Marissa Taylor, co-owner of Hidden Leaf, wanted to partner with Uber Eats and Leafly because she sees it as another tool she can use to expand the customer base at her North York location, where a loyalty program is already in place.

“We’re a small business and really it was just to help be able to get cannabis to a broader number of people,” she said.

“Accessibility is not always easy for everyone… and then to expand our reach, e-commerce is definitely the way to go.”

— With files from the Canadian Press

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