OCS warns customers to expect delays

Published Mar 31, 2020 12:00 p.m. ET
iStock / Ivan-balvan

As things ramp up in Canada, and each province reports a disturbing number of new cases daily, citizens are rushing to stock up on the necessities in an attempt to stay inside as much as possible. Most households are focused on buying things like food, while others are going crazy over toilet paper, but cannabis enthusiasts are flocking in droves to dispensaries to stock up on weed.

This had led to a significant increase in cannabis product sales across the country, and it’s getting to be hard to keep up with, as storefronts everywhere introduce new restrictions and hours that are unpredictable and far outside the norm.

Most consumers are rushing to visit physical cannabis dispensary locations, but they aren’t the only ones experiencing a higher than average number of sales, and it seems that Canadians, or more specifically Ontarians are buying weed at such an exponential rate, that even online dispensaries are announcing delays that could impact customers.

OCS announcement

Many of the cannabis stores across Ontario Canada are making adjustments to protect both their workers and customers and OCS which is one of the biggest and well-known suppliers, announced on Monday, March 20ththat they’d be joining suit by changing shipping estimates to match a more realistic view of what’s to come.

OCS will no longer offer same-day or two-day shipping, which will be reflected with lower costs, and they are asking that their customers gear up for what could at some point turn into a long wait for cannabis products. Due to a higher volume of orders, that for the most part, are also larger on average, the extended wait time has become necessary to keep citizens of Ontario satisfied with their service.

However, some experts are warning that it might not be safe to buy weed online anymore, particularly for those who reside in some of the hardest-hit areas with large numbers of COVID-19 cases. Though most regions have deemed cannabis dispensaries as an essential service that can remain open throughout the pandemic, some like Alberta, are having issues with postal delivery coming through.

When a purchase is made through an online dispensary like OCS, it gets sent out from a warehouse to Canada Post who handles the delivery of the products. These deliveries are age-specific, as it is illegal to purchase cannabis in Canada if you are under the legal age, so these special parcels require a signature and photo identification for a successful delivery.

Unfortunately, Canada Post is an essential service that can be altered to adhere to recommendations from public health officials, which is why in Alberta, they have stopped delivering these packages altogether. Some reports of drop and run incidents have come in, but most carriers are instructed to leave a card that instructs the purchaser to attend their nearest Canada Post pickup location to get their cannabis products.

This forces consumers to go out in public unnecessarily to get their packages and results in longer than normal wait times for age-restricted mail. Though this measure has yet to be introduced to the majority of Canadian provinces, if the trend of COVID-19 spread continues, it is a likely scenario that we could see in the very near future everywhere.

Is it still safe to buy weed online?

Since the outbreak health experts and officials have suggested that Canadians opt for online purchases whenever possible as a way to reduce the frequency of human to human interaction, and this advice holds true. The trouble is that there is no way to know for certain how long the current state of things will last, which means that you might have to venture out to get your cannabis products by the time they arrive.

The process itself is incredibly simple and still offers a reduced rate of human interaction when compared to a regular dispensary visit, so it is still the safest option that is available to Canadians right now. Unfortunately, there is always a risk when it comes to the mail, and that is especially true in dire circumstances, but for the moment, it is still completely safe to opt to buy weed online instead of in-store.

What to expect from dispensaries in Ontario Canada

No matter where you choose to shop, you will find that suppliers and stores everywhere are going to surprising lengths to keep employees and customers safe throughout this stressful ordeal. Things like sanitation practices are being worked on and measures such as weed delivery are quickly becoming the norm, so make sure to check in with your local dispensary for updates on what’s to come in the future.

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