TORONTO — Canadian cannabis shoppers will have to get used to a patchwork of closed stores and delivery disruptions as pot distributors across the country implement changes.
The moves have been sparked by an outbreak of the novel coronavirus known as COVID-19, which has pushed increasing numbers of Canadians to self-isolate and caused surges in demand for cannabis
Cannabis retailers in several provinces have advised customers that Canada Post will no longer be delivering parcels that require a signature or proof-of-age to customer doors because of disruptions to air travel and operations at their local facilities.
Shoppers must now look for a notice card notifying them of a nearby post office where they can show identification at and collect their orders.
"They are suspending their on-time delivery guarantees for all parcel services, until further notice," Alberta Cannabis also warned. "This means that some residents and businesses may begin to experience slower than normal delivery times."
Purolator is also waiving signature requirements, but requiring couriers to verify identification and once proof of age is confirmed, sign for packages themselves, Alberta Cannabis said.
Meanwhile, the Ontario Cannabis Store (OCS) said it would be taking measures one step further by suspending same-day deliveries.
"We're currently experiencing a higher-than-normal volume of orders and our team is working as quickly as possible to fulfil them," said a notice on the retailer's site.
The OCS has said it received almost 3,000 orders last Saturday, an 80 per cent increase over an average Saturday.
On the East Coast, PEI cannabis stores shut down for the foreseeable future due to COVID-19.
Quebec pot distributor Societe quebecoise du cannabis, which has also experienced a sales surge, said it was keeping doors open, but was no longer allowing cash payments and was instead pushing credit and debit card use.
Stores were being cleaned more frequently with a particular emphasis on doors, payment terminals and counters.
Hand sanitizer was on hand for all employees, who have been trained to reduce their handling of products and wash their hands often.
For those who have fears about the province’s cannabis supply, Quebec had some promising news.
“For the time being, we do not foresee any issues with product supply in-store or online,” it said.
This report by The Canadian Press was first published March 20, 2020.
Tara Deschamps, The Canadian Press