Quebec Tells Delivery Services To Chill

Cannabis delivery Quebec
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Quebec has been telling marijuana-delivery services to chill — barring them from delivering weed too quickly for fear that recreational use could explode, The Post has learned.

This summer, a Montreal-based rapid delivery company called Eva began delivering cannabis to customers in Quebec — months ahead of UberEats’ tie-up last month with a marijuana marketplace to make home deliveries in Toronto.

But Quebec officials put the kibosh on fast delivery, citing concerns that Canadians might end up smoking too much weed if deliveries take less than 90 minutes to arrive, The Post has learned.

“We were told to slow down,” Eva’s lead investor and advisor, Ilir Skendaj told The Post. A local government agency said it was concerned that “we were delivering too fast” which could “increase sales and addiction,” according to Skendaj.

Indeed, when Eva won its weed license in October 2021, the startup admits it misunderstood the agency’s 90-minute directive — thinking it was the maximum timeframe for a delivery instead of the minimum. After the service went live, 200 Eva customers got their marijuana orders in less than 30 minutes before regulators called Eva in for a meeting.

“We went fast, eager to help,” Skendaj said. “The government is saying we can’t make it so easy. It’s a bizarre circumstance.”

The local government agency that regulates pot, the Quebec Cannabis Corporation, says it is still evaluating the pilot and could reduce the minimum delivery time in the future.

“We wanted to be prudent in the deployment of this project also to give us the time to see how customers would react to, it hence why we opted for a 90 minutes delivery time,” the agency’s spokesperson, Fabrice Giguère, told The Post.

“Our mission is to migrate consumers from the black market to the legal market while preventing the increase in cannabis consumption,” Giguère added.

The Quebec agency likewise appears to be clamping down on weed deliveries during traditional party hours. Its website says it’s testing 90-minute delivery in Quebec City and the rural areas of Saguenay-Lac-San-Jean from 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. from Monday to Friday and 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. on the weekend. The delivery charge is $9.

Quebec has barred Eva, which provides other delivery services as well as ride-sharing in Canada, from advertising weed delivery. Eva also was ordered to disable the tipping function for its weed service to ensure that customers don’t try to bribe drivers, who must visually confirm that customers are sober when they accept a weed delivery.

Recreational use of cannabis was legalized in Canada in 2018, and there are no such curbs on weed delivery elsewhere in Canada, experts say. Alberta and Ontario have allowed home delivery since March. Consumers in Toronto and Ontario are getting their weed in under an hour, according to Leafly, the cannabis company working with Uber.

Skendaj says that customers haven’t griped about the 90-minute rule in Quebec because previously the best on offer had been next-day delivery.

“They are just happy to be getting same-day delivery,” he said.

Skendaj says Eva plans to bring its delivery service to the US and is in discussions with dispensaries in California. It’s raising $30 million to enter the US market, where just four states allow home delivery or marijuana; California, Michigan, Massachusetts and Arizona, according to Leafly.

Uber, for its part, has said it has no plans to do door to door weed delivery until the federal government sanctions it.