As provinces grapple with shut-down orders, one decision no one in the sector ever considered has emerged: Is access to cannabis an essential service, particularly during a time of heightened global anxiety?
Ontario’s Doug Ford Conservative government says it is: as part of the state of emergency his government exempted REC stores, the Beer Store, and the LCBO along with grocery stores and convenience stores. Hours may be restricted.
Twitter–@GOPdemocrat, Ottawa Sun, Global News
- Prince Edward Island announced plans to close all PEI Cannabis stores with 24 hours “until further notice.” (They also closed liquor stores.)
Twitter–@PEICannabis, Global News
- Three hours after this announcement, panicked Islanders to line up in large, dense groups for cannabis and alcohol, the province’s chief public health officer Heather Morrison announced she was “disappointed in Islanders’ response.”
- The province is looking for alternate ways to allow the sale of alcohol and cannabis, such as online or drive-through, Morrison said, “Perhaps we underestimated that alcohol is considered essential for some people.”
BC’s cannabis and liquor stores have no plans to close–for the moment, though that may change as the pandemic evolves. BC’s provincially run stores are enacting social distancing measures for customers and cleaning more often. (Victoria compassion club the Victoria Cannabis Buyers Club is reducing the number of days it’s open, but extending hours, and offering care by phone.)
Kamloops Matters, GrowthOp
- Nova Scotia’s NSLC stores are reducing their hours to contain viral spread, while many private stores in Manitoba are ramping up cleanliness efforts.
- Alberta Gaming, Liquor and Cannabis said that because stores are independently owned in the province, it has no power to force closures.