One year after pot legalization and it seems Ontario has been struggling to uphold brick and mortar businesses. With a minuscule 24 stores fro the whole province many people still use the black market for their weed. Now the province wants to take more initiative to combat the underground market by increasing the amount and availability of approved retailers.
Selling Over the Phone and Online
It was announced on November 6th, 2019 that the government of Ontario. would allow stores to sell pot online and over the phone, buyers would then pick up their order in the brick and mortar store. Delivery is discouraged though for now, so the strict age verification process can be more easily upheld for both businesses and clients protection.
Edibles would also be allowed to be bought online or through phone since it recently became legal. There is a 60 day waiting period before edibles officially are on sale though, allowing time for sellers to have their edibles submitted and reviewed. Introducing this will almost certainly boost sales and access to legal weed, especially if the prices will be more competitive against the black market. Cutting out the black markets’ stronghold on cannabis sales will help to regulate to product and increase safety.
Pot Across the Provinces
Despite Ontario’s high population, Ontario is actually last in terms of the number of pot stores in the province. Province-wide there are about 24 stores for 14.57 million people. Northwest territories also has a low amount of stores, standing at just 5, but taking into account the population; that’s 1 store for every 9,000 people out of 38,780, significantly more population-wise than Ontario.
The ranking goes from Ontario, Saskatchewan, British Columbia, Newfoundland and Labrador, to Manitoba. The title for the province with the largest number of stores goes to Alberta with over 300 licensed private marihuana providers for 4.37 million people. Alberta’s industry is so strong that they have more stores than every other province combined and by 2012 the number of stores could even increase to 500.
This new initiative could open up the Ontario market and introduce more sellers in the province to help level the playing field a bit more. Because there is such a large discrepancy between Ontarios population and the number of pot stores province-wide the illegal underground industry is still very much thriving and the government wants to combat that in any way that it can.
Updated Legislation to Accommodate Growth
While Ontario seems to be falling behind, the government has made strides to update legislation and aid cannabis retailers to try to promote their growth and development. The plan is to increase the allowed amount of stores from 25 up to allowing 75 pot stores to open this fall. Having sales available over your phone and online will make the brick and mortar stores much more accessible and consumer-friendly in this age of online shopping and Amazon orders.
There is also the possibility of a new aspect of the cannabis industry to help it grow and fight against the illegal underground industry, with retail spaces for the products there is a chance of tourism. Just like a brewery or distillery doing tours and having back and forth conversations with the brewers working, it would provide a new experience for consumers while also providing an opportunity to educate on the product and growing process. These sorts of situations would be an advantage over the black market, providing a consumer-friendly environment and encouraging growth within the industry.
Read more about this new development for cannabis sellers here: