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While the World deals with COVID-19 pandemic, the people of Ontario will no longer be able to access cannabis retail stores. the OCS will operate solely through online ordering and delivery via Canada Post.

Cannabis stores in Ontario no longer deemed essential, will close this weekend

By Kayla Goodfield – Multi-Platform Writer, CTV News Toronto

TORONTO — Cannabis stores across Ontario will have to close as of Saturday night after the provincial government removed them from their list of essential businesses.

Many non-essential businesses in the province have been closed under government order since March 24, but cannabis and liquor stores have remained open.

At the time the initial list of what would remain open and what would have to close during the COVID-19 pandemic, Ontario Premier Doug Ford said mental health and addiction experts voiced that is was “absolutely critical” to keep these stores open.

“There are people out there with addictions and we’re here to support them,” he said.

However, the provincial government released a revised list of essential businesses on Friday, stating that those no longer classified as essential must close by 11:59 p.m. on Saturday.

Beer and wine and liquor stores continue to be deemed essential and will therefore remain open, but Ontarians looking to purchase legal recreational cannabis come Sunday will only have the online Ontario Cannabis Store (OCS).

OCS has previously ended same-day delivery due to an increasing demand for product during the pandemic.

On March 20, the OCS said they were experiencing a “marked increase” in sales but added that they do have “sufficient inventory” to meet the new demand.

Article source CTV News

Ontario cannabis stores to close for 2 weeks after being deemed non-essential


Ontario’s cannabis stores will be forced to shut down after the Doug Ford government revised its list of non-essential businesses in response to the coronavirus pandemic.

All physical cannabis stores were included in the closure order, which will take effect Saturday at 11:59 p.m. and is scheduled to last 14 days.

The Ontario Cannabis Store will continue to operate online and licenced producers can continue production.

Ontario had previously allowed retail cannabis storefronts to remain open when the first closure order took effect on March 24.

However, the government changed course in announcing further closures on Friday.

“We’re taking additional steps to flatten the curve,” Premier Doug Ford said. “We’re announcing the closure of many more sectors of the economy and I can tell you this was no easy task.”

LCBO and Beer Store locations are still considered essential and will remain open, albeit on reduced hours.

With files from Global’s Nick Westoll

Article source Global News

Ontario to close cannabis stores, dubbing them ‘non-essential’ in updated emergency order

By David George-Cosh

Ontario is changing course on allowing cannabis stores to remain open during the province’s emergency action in response to curtailing the spread COVID-19. 

Cannabis stores were not listed in an updated list of “essential” busineses released by Ontario on Friday. The government is ordering all businesses not covered by the updated emergency order to close effective as of Saturday, April 4, 2020 at 11:59 p.m. and to remain closed for at least the next 14 days. 

A senior Ontario government official confirmed to BNN Bloomberg that cannabis retail stores will be deemed non-essential and be required to close. Cannabis producers will be allowed to remain operational as they provide a medical product, the official said. 

Ontario allowed the 52 cannabis retail stores that operate in the province to remain after labelling them as “essential” when ordering at-risk workplaces to close on Mar. 24 to prevent the spread of COVID-19.

Prior to Friday’s announcement, several cannabis retailers had reduced their working hours to avoid crowding and better manage customer traffic flow. 

Ontario Cannabis Store director of communications Daffyd Roderick said in an email to BNN Bloomberg that the organization – which manages the province’s wholesale pot business and online sales – has taken several steps to increase capacity to manage a larger volume of online orders it has received during the pandemic.

“These steps include working with our service providers to add extra shifts at the distribution centre and operating on a 24/7 basis and to add shipping capability to offer expedited direct-to-door delivery service,” Roderick said. “We’re committed to providing the best possible service despite the unique challenges of this situation.”

The OCS launched same-day delivery of legal cannabis in southern Ontario last year through a partnership with Pineapple Express Delivery. However, privately-owned delivery services are not yet allowed to ship cannabis from non-government retailers to customers in Ontario, although the service is available in other provinces such as Manitoba. 

BNN Bloomberg obtained a letter co-signed by executives from Fire & Flower Holdings Inc. and Organigram Holdings Inc. sent to Ontario finance minister Rod Phillips urging the province to exercise emergency powers to allow licensed cannabis retailers to deliver products purchased online or over the phone to a customer’s residence or to a vehicle outside a licensed retail store. 

A Finance Ministry spokesperson told BNN Bloomberg that the government is unlikely to adopt those suggestions at this period of time, but may consider it in the future. 

Cannabis Canada is BNN Bloomberg’s in-depth series exploring the stunning formation of the entirely new — and controversial — Canadian recreational marijuana industry. Read more from the special series here and subscribe to our Cannabis Canada newsletter to have the latest marijuana news delivered directly to your inbox every day.

Article source BNN Bloomberg

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