Toronto residents will now be able to order weed and munchies for delivery on a single app, thanks to a new partnership between Uber Eats and Leafly.
Uber Eats recently announced that it will now begin delivering legal cannabis from three Toronto dispensaries - Hidden Leaf Cannabis, Minerva Cannabis and Shivaa's Rose. This new program will allow Torontonians over the age of 19 to select options from these shops' inventory and have them delivered directly to their door.
In order to conform with Canadian cannabis laws, deliveries will be made by dispensary employees instead of independent drivers. Weed delivery drivers must be certified with Ontario's cannabis retail education program, CannSell, and will be required to verify customers' age and sobriety before handing over the goods. Uber Eats is touting these new weed delivery options as a way to help crack down on black market sales and drugged driving in one fell swoop.
"First and foremost, we see this as a critical piece to helping discourage impaired driving, and secondly, this is just another initiative that can help combat the illegal cannabis market, which still makes up more than 40 percent of cannabis sales in Ontario today," Lola Kassim, Uber Eats Canada's general manager, told CBC Toronto. "So, we're providing an option that goes beyond in-store, that goes beyond pickup and it's also an option for consumers on a platform like Uber Eats, which many Torontonians already know and love and also is built on, you know, trust and safety."
The three independent weed retailers that joined this delivery partnership are hopeful that the added visibility will help them compete in Ontario's crowded marketplace. As of this spring, there were 1,460 legal weed shops operating in Ontario, up from 1,333 at the end of last year. Retailers have started loyalty programs and price-matching campaigns in order to compete, but offering a convenient delivery option will definitely help these smaller businesses stand out.
"We're a small business and really it was just to help be able to get cannabis to a broader number of people," said Marissa Taylor, co-owner of Hidden Leaf, to CBC Toronto. "Accessibility is not always easy for everyone... and then to expand our reach, e-commerce is definitely the way to go."
Uber Eats started dipping its toes into the cannabis space last year with a pilot program that allowed Ontario residents to place cannabis orders via its app. This initial program only allows users to order weed for pickup, though, not delivery, and users are only able to order from one chain of dispensaries.
If all goes well, the company will surely expand delivery options throughout Ontario and the rest of Canada. Residents in other cities and provinces still have plenty of options for legal weed delivery, though. Most provinces, with the exception of Quebec, New Brunswick, Nova Scotia, and PEI, allow either dispensary staff or independent companies to deliver legal cannabis. And in Alberta, courier services are even allowed to deliver weed to adults at music festivals.