Now that we've experienced weed delivery, what's next?

Published Dec 19, 2020 12:00 p.m. ET
iStock / Muralinath

People were already making the switch from in-person transactions to online buying, as a matter of convenience, a necessity in today's modern, fast-paced society, but COVID-19 amplified that trend to unpredicted proportions. As the virus spread, the demand for safer low-contact shopping methods skyrocketed, propelled by fear over the illness and necessity, as many regions shut down any businesses that aren't deemed essential.

The luxury of delivery services

Businesses ordered to close due to high COVID-19 cases in their local area made the switch to online ordering and delivery or curbside pickup. One of the many that was forced to make this sudden, and unexpected change is dispensaries. Emergency orders today continue to allow cannabis delivery and curbside pickup in regions that are currently under lockdown. Still, those same services are re-banned the moment pot shops can legally re-open their doors to the public.

Still, this opportunity, even if only for a short while, has expanded consumer access to cannabis significantly right across Canada, and now that it's happened, many supporters are calling for it to stay. Even more so, those who have witnessed this shift can say with certainty that it's safe, which begs the question of what could follow a blanket policy that would allow dispensaries to offer weed delivery once this whole pandemic thing is far behind us.

What could be next

The whole reason that cannabis delivery is banned for dispensaries that are not owned by the provincial regulators in most Canadian provinces is for the people's supposed safety and integrity. Thus far, most provincial regulators have maintained a monopoly over cannabis delivery. Many feared the potential for minors' purchases through less strict avenues, such as third-party delivery services. This same argument is used to defend the need for licensing to sell booze.

Government regulators claim that it's safer this way, as strict rules for things like age verification and maximum purchase limits should be followed at all times. Still, after this recent trial run that's had dispensaries delivering pot products to doorsteps and parking lots without a single legitimate problem, it's clear that there is no need for concern. If there is little to no risk with these more lenient methods of delivery, then that opens the door for so many possibilities in the future, such as:

Cannabis cafés – Canadians may soon have the option of a cannabis-infused treat along with their regular cup of coffee at a cannabis café.

Cannabis bars – Bars already follow strict protocols that prohibit sales to minors. With the minimum age for both substances set the same, it would be easy for alcohol selling establishments to either switch to cannabis products or offer them alongside the menu items they already serve.

Cannabis at concerts – You're probably used to having access to beer or spirits when you take in concerts, but soon (post-pandemic, of course), Canadians might be able to catch a buzz at the same time, without breaking any of the rules.

Cannabis and virtual entertainment – Cannabis and video games go together like chocolate and peanut butter. They go down so smoothly together, and the effects seem to complement one another therapeutically. Now imagine the experience of playing all of your favourite games on a massive screen while being served everything that you need to get high, and you could very well be picturing the way of the future.

Cannabis hotels – Hotels are great places to kick back and relax when you're on an adventure, and they often serve up alcohol at the request of visitors, which is excellent for drinkers but not so much for those who prefer a different kind of buzz. However, with a bit of push from consumers, we could soon see the acceptance of cannabis-friendly hotels and motels that offer a similar experience.

Cannabis tasting – If you've ever been to a wine or cheese tasting, then you already know how this could work, with farmers offering long glorious strolls through picture-perfect countryside, followed by a private tasting session that includes an array of many of the strains that you'd have learned about on tour. These sessions are about appreciating every aspect of the cannabis plant from seed to bowl, and we could soon see something like this become a reality in Canada.

There are just a few of the most talked-about possibilities that could hit the Canadian cannabis scene, but only with the right changes to our current cannabis regulations.

A need for more from the cannabis industry

Cannabis consumers can now buy these products legally and use them without fear of repercussions, but that alone doesn't go far enough to serve the needs of those who prefer it. A store is only a place for transactions, which is why many are calling for options that are a tad more fun. Stoners want to be entertained and catered to in the same way that alcohol drinkers have the luxury of experiencing. Given a clean record of less conventional methods buying weed over these last several months, it simply doesn't make any sense to expect any less.

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