Starting Monday, people in Toronto who want to buy cannabis will be able to use Uber Eats to get it delivered.
On Sunday, Uber Technologies Inc.’s food delivery service, which is owned by the tech giant Uber Technologies Inc., announced a partnership with the online marijuana marketplace Leafly. As part of this partnership, Uber’s food delivery service will process orders for pot from retailers Hidden Leaf Cannabis, Minerva Cannabis, and Shiva’s Rose.
For the first time, Uber will be able to help send marijuana anywhere in the world with this partnership.
Customers who are at least 19 years old will use the Uber Eats app to place orders, which stores will get through Leafly’s software. The stores then send staff who have been trained in Ontario’s Cannell program to drop off purchases to customers. At that time, the customers’ age and sobriety are checked.
Uber said that the partnership was a way to fight the illegal marijuana market, which is what licensed pot producers have been saying for a long time that has been holding back sales.
The general manager of Uber Eats Canada, Lola Kassim, told CBC Toronto, “First and foremost, we see this as a key part of discouraging drunk driving. Second, this is just another initiative that can help fight the illegal cannabis market, which still makes up more than 40% of cannabis sales in Ontario today. “
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“So, we’re giving people an option that goes beyond in-store and pickup. It’s also an option for consumers on a platform like Uber Eats, which many Torontonians already know and love and which is also built on, you know, trust and safety. ”
The Ontario Cannabis Store (OCS) said last week that almost 57% of the cannabis bought in Ontario from the beginning of January to the end of March was bought legally. The finding is based on information that people gave to Statistics Canada. Many people are worried that the numbers could be off because people are less likely to tell the government about illegal pot purchases.
Uber is not a brand-new company in the marijuana business. Since November, Uber Eats customers have been able to order cannabis products from Tokyo Smoke stores and pick them up there. However, the partnership did not allow for deliveries, which the new Leafly deal does.
When COVID-19 restrictions shut down pot shops in 2020, Ontario made it possible for customers to get their orders sent to them by courier for a short time.
In March, the Alcohol and Gaming Commission of Ontario (AGCO), the province’s pot regulator, made the policy permanent. It came with a few rules.
Companies that deliver cannabis can’t do most or all of their business through delivery. Orders must be placed with and fulfilled by specific stores, not a network of stores, and customers can only get pot when the store they came from is open.
Delivery will be done by the stores’ own employees.
The AGCO doesn’t let third parties make deliveries, and only people with retail store authorization or their employees can courier products.
So, the same Uber Eats drivers who deliver snacks won’t also deliver pot. To deliver orders made through Uber’s software, stores will hire and train their own staff.
Uber wouldn’t say how much of each sale made through Uber Eats it and Leafly will take. But Uber takes between 20% and 30% of most restaurant orders delivered by Uber Eats as a fee. The business world has said for a long time that the cut is too high.
Uber’s decision to help deliver marijuana comes as the company has been expanding beyond delivering food from restaurants. It has delivered goods for stores like Indigo Books & Music, Dollarama Inc., and The Body Shop. It has also started delivering groceries, which is a very competitive business.
Ontario has seen a rise in the number of stores selling marijuana.
Even more fierce is the cannabis business. The number of pot shops in the province jumped from 1,333 at the end of 2021 to 1,460 by the end of March, according to the OCS.
In order to keep up with competitors, companies have had to cut prices, start loyalty programs, offer discounts to seniors, and even offer to match prices.
Marissa Taylor, co-owner of Hidden Leaf, wanted to work with Uber Eats and Leafly because she sees it as another way to bring in more customers to her North York location, which already has a customer loyalty program.
“We’re a small business, and we just wanted to help more people get access to cannabis,” she said.
“It’s not always easy for everyone to get in… and if we want to reach more people, e-commerce is the way to go.”
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