As businesses and organizations undertake new protocols in order to quell the spread of the novel coronavirus (COVID-19), people around the world are being urged to self-quarantine, shelter-in-place and practice social distancing. In Canada, higher levels of individuals staying home means that those looking to obtain cannabis products have been relying on online orders, fulfilled by Canada Post and similar services.
However, in a public statement released this week, Canada Post announced that it would cease to deliver packages to locations that require person-to-person interaction, such as signature collecting. This means that those who place orders for marijuana products online will have to venture out to the post office in order to procure their goods.
Packages that do not require signatures or identification verification will be able to be left at doorsteps. Canada Post calls this a “safe drop.” However, all cannabis products in Canada require a signature and age confirmation, meaning those products will be sent to a nearby post office for in-person pickup while consumers, even if they are home, will receive notices on their doors informing them that their package is ready.
“To help minimize points of close contact in our communities, we will no longer be requesting signatures for any deliveries to the door,” explained Canada Post in a public statement on March 15. “This will eliminate the need for scanners and stylus pens to be passed back and forth during the delivery process of these items.”
Some digital dispensaries (dig-pensaries?), such as the Ontario Cannabis Store (OCS), are now notifying customers through email about the new measure. Shipping and freight company Purolator said on Twitter that while cannabis packages and packages needing signatures are not permitted to be dropped off at people’s doors, the company is no longer requiring signatures. Instead, one can simply show a valid government-issued ID and verbally agree to accept the package. FedEx has also dropped their signature requirement temporarily.
As the global response to COVID-19 rapidly evolves, Purolator continues to put in place measures to protect our employees, customers and communities we serve. Learn more from our President and CEO about how we are delivering our customers' promises safely during uncertain times. pic.twitter.com/YgIOwjxWEP— Purolator (@PurolatorInc) March 16, 2020
“I am so disappointed to hear that they will not comment—especially because I have received public statements from Purolator and from customers of FedEx who have confirmed their processes,” says Ashleigh Brown, Founder and CEO of SheCann Cannabis Inc, a Canadian digital network for women to share information on medical cannabis.
“I am worried for immunosuppressed patients who are at high risk for exposure, as well as those of us who have conditions and disabilities that make leaving our homes difficult, even outside of a pandemic,” Brown continued. “Many patients do not drive, and cannot visit a postal outlet or depot.”
“Thousands of Canadians rely upon these carriers to deliver our medicine to us, and we need stakeholders to consider the tremendous impact that these changes may have on our quality of life and wellbeing,” added Brown. “During these uncertain times, we want to follow our governments’ direction, and stay home—with our medicine in good supply.