Opinion: Allow curbside pickup and delivery for all Ontario cannabis stores

Jennawae McLean | Mugglehead Media

November 21, 2020

When Ontario introduced emergency measures in April, we operated our delivery service at a loss.

Now, as out-of-store transactions are re-authorized for retailers in lockdown areas, I am desperately begging the province to allow curbside and delivery for cannabis stores in all zones.

We offered the service for free and put thousands of dollars into this system and staffing. We had a couple of friends get their CannSell certificates, paid them the same hourly rate as our regular staff plus a premium for gas mileage. We even got a pricey routing app. We took our responsibility seriously and were genuinely proud to do this public service for our community.

We are still in a pandemic — even if we are in a green zone we have more cases now than when we offered delivery. Getting rid of curbside was also a terrible move.

Curbside pickup was the perfect solution to help with social distancing, reduce wait times and lines, especially as it gets colder and because we limit how many people are in the store at once.

My city of Kingston has a large retirement population. Why aren’t we protecting them? It’s dangerous to put vulnerable customers at risk by forcing them to be out in public if we can avoid it.

People are still quarantining and staying home with their children. Parents, and especially single parents, have relied on this service because babysitters are hard to enlist if they are outside their social bubble, and we can’t allow children in the store. If anyone deserves to relax and unwind — after, say, a day of homeschooling children while working from home — it’s the parents!

We need to be proactive in green zones. Waiting until everyone is in a red-zone before taking steps to mitigate spread is too little too late.

Our province cannot handle 2021 being as tough as 2020. Now more than ever we need to be vigilant and end this virus. Every community, every business, every individual needs to do their part to fill in the gaps, at least until a vaccine is widely available.

Cannabis delivery and curbside pickup are a labour of love, a public service and quite frankly the only responsible approach to help flatten the curve. Let us do our part.

Jennawae McLean is the co-founder and CEO of Calyx +Trichomes in Kingston, Ont.