It’s been just over two weeks since the Liquor Distribution Branch (LDB) opened the floodgates for legal adult-use cannabis in B.C. In the first 48 hours, the LDB saw 10,000 orders, which is peanuts compared to the 150,000-plus orders that hit Ontario on day one. Despite clocking a drastically lower demand, it hasn’t stopped the province from making adjustments as they Beta-test their way through the early days of legalization.
On Wednesday (October 31), the authority charged with the distribution of federally-approved weed across the province says it has identified several areas of improvement and hopes, with a few corrections, to better the overall customer experience.
In a release, the LDB says it has knocked off $2 on shipping fees, dropping the flat rate from $10 to $8.
The LDB also promised to expedite delivery times. Customers who place an order on the B.C. Cannabis Stores website before 11:59 p.m. will receive their products within one to four business days, but are warned that the recent Canada Post strike may create unavoidable delays in certain regions.
In response to nationwide finger-wag regarding the exorbitant amount of packaging—some products coming encased in up to four layers of plastic, paper, and cardboard—the LDB says it plans to correct that, too.
“Also, as part of its commitment to social and environmental responsibility, the LDB has reduced the size and formatting of packing materials,” the release reads.
While these improvements look nice on paper, the reality of implementing these changes is to be seen over the coming weeks. Many provinces are just struggling to keep up with the supply demand.
Today (November 2), the LDB also announced the launch of a wholesale online ordering system, allowing approved private retailers to order from a selection of federally-approved dried cannabis, cannabis oils, capsules, and seeds. In August 2018, the province said it would apply a markup on the landed cost of cannabis from licensed producers.
The release today reads: "The 15% wholesale markup highlights the LDB’s commitment to being as competitive as possible with the illicit market."
Currently, there are only two legal brick-and-mortar stores in British Columbia, one government store that opened on October 17, and Tamarak Cannabis Boutique, a privately-owned store that received official approval to reopen on Wednesday. Both stores are located in the Interior, however, only the government store is currently open for business.
In a phone interview with the Straight, Tamarak’s owner, Tamara Duggard, says she is hopeful that her shop will be open sometime next week. Duggard will be submitting her first order with the LDB today.
Of the 255 current applications for private retail locations, the provincial government reports just one licence has been granted and 90 have been passed along to the respective local municipalities for a final endorsement.
Until more stores receive their seal of approval, consumers are limited to purchasing legal weed from the online store. In the meantime, a number of unlicensed dispensaries are braving the Damoclean sword, keeping their doors open despite B.C. solicitor general Mike Farnworth’s threats of impending raids and penalties.More