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How to Start a Cannabis Delivery Program in British Columbia

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The pandemic has accelerated the digital revolution and has compelled cannabis retailers to adapt swiftly to changing consumer behavior. Most regulatory authorities have also gradually realized that they must allow convenient ways of purchasing and selling cannabis to ensure the success of the legal industry and shrink the illicit market. A recent announcement by the government of British Columbia permitting all legal recreational cannabis retailers to deliver their products to customers from July 15, 2021, will go a long way in fortifying Canada’s cannabis retail industry. All authorized B.C. cannabis retailers can now offer direct delivery services and don't need a separate delivery license to render the same.

A cannabis delivery service is vital to the viability of your retail business and will add to your revenues. If you don’t know what cannabis delivery entails, check out this blog to learn the basics. If you are prepared to incorporate a delivery program into your cannabis retail business but don’t know where to start, let this post be your guide.

How to Set Up Cannabis Delivery Service in B.C.

1. Define the Scope of Your Delivery Service

Implementing a cannabis delivery service will add complexity beyond brick-and-mortar sales, so it’s crucial to understand the requirements for a cannabis delivery program and the scope of management required. When Cova helped Dutch Love set up their delivery program in 2020 within 24 hours, they wanted a lot of control to track drivers and manage delivery data, but you may have different needs.

Regardless, you will have to gauge the feasibility of your delivery area; areas with low population density or unsafe neighborhoods may not be viable. You will also have to balance the change in staffing against the fees for delivery. Otherwise, it may cut into your profit margins.

Your delivery business will likely match peak in-store purchase periods, and your staff will have to be ready to manage and distribute the workload efficiently. Coordinate your delivery runs accordingly by staffing drivers for peak hours. And be timely — set a target delivery time or set some expectations for when customers will receive their goods. Happy customers become loyal customers.

2. Stay Compliant with Regulations

As always, ensure that you stay ahead of all regulations. Here are few keys points for cannabis delivery in B.C.:

  • Only cannabis retail store (CRS) licensees and their employees will be authorized to deliver non-medical cannabis products directly to consumers. Licensees will not be able to use third-party delivery services.
  • Cannabis products can be delivered to adults only- anyone who appears to be under 19 will have to present two pieces of identification. Recipients will also have to provide their signature upon delivery.
  • Licensees may choose to deliver via motor vehicle, bike, or on foot, but they must ensure the product is stored securely during delivery. Employees in charge of delivering cannabis products must carry a copy of their CRS license as identification for law enforcement.
  • Delivery will be limited to residential addresses in B.C. or an area immediately outside the CRS (e.g., for curbside pickup). Cannabis delivery may take place only between 9 a.m. and 11 p.m unless these hours are further restricted by the local government, or Indigenous Nation where the store is located, or by the general manager of the provincial Liquor and Cannabis Regulation Branch.
  • Purchases for delivery will be subject to the same individual transaction limits in place at retail stores (e.g., a maximum of 30 grams of dried cannabis per transaction).
  • With these changes, the government will no longer require existing CRS workers to undertake a follow-up security screening after five years.

Just because the LCRB has legalized delivery does not mean that a traffic cop would understand the situation — or why the driver had so much cannabis. Hence, all relevant documents must be carried while making the delivery to avoid any violations.

When Ontario allowed cannabis delivery temporarily in 2020, the province had required that payments be made before the delivery arrives at the recipient's home, either by phone or online. But B.C. has not specified any such conditions, so cannabis retailers can most likely accept payments in whichever form is convenient for the customer. 

3. Create Your Cannabis Delivery SOPs

Your standard operating procedures can be different based on your local regulations, geography, and intentions. But here’s a quick peek into exactly how you can establish an efficient delivery process with Cova POS.

  • Once the order arrives in Cova POS, employees confirm the order, tender sales, and prepare the product for delivery.
  • Deliveries can be scheduled at designated times, and the customer can choose a time convenient to them. You may charge extra for express delivery.
  • A driver and a co-pilot travel together, navigating to the delivery stop arranged on the delivery management app. The onboard co-pilot increases security and helps with hands-free driving.
  • If delivery is being made by a single employee on foot or bike, the app will track the GPS location of the employee and ensure that they do not deviate from the recommended path.
  • The delivery person verifies the recipient's age and two IDs and confirms whether the customer paid with the same credit card they have on themselves.
  • Once the delivery is complete, the delivery person clears the order in the Cova POS tablet, and the transaction automatically gets added to the sales summary report.

4. Choose the Right Cannabis Technology Partner

For a seamless shopping experience, your customers should be able to browse the website, place an order, and either pay online or call the store to pay. With Cova’s cannabis POS and its excellent integrations for payment and delivery, the order automatically pops up for the budtender to tender the sales, and the system updates your inventory once payment is approved. The order and delivery information is automatically populated for routing and delivery. Once the order is delivered, the order status is updated.

Cova software offers a robust cannabis POS system with versatile integrations to online ordering services such as Shopify, Super Anytime, Buddi, I Heart Jane, Weedmaps, and Leafly Pickup, which auto-populate all your delivery manifestos. With inventory management and a wealth of reporting features, the Cova POS enables cannabis retailers in B.C. to stay compliant as they evolve and expand. Get started with your cannabis retail & delivery business fast today!

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