Canada-based e-commerce vendor Shopify added another client to its crop recently. And this time it’s a big one—and in its home country. Ontario, Canada recently selected Shopify to power the in-store and online marijuana sales for the Ontario Cannabis Retail Corp., a subsidiary of the Liquor Control Board of Ontario.
“Our top priority is fulfilling the Province’s framework for the safe and sensible retailing of recreational cannabis for when it is legalized by the federal government,” George Soleas, president and CEO for the Liquor Control Board of Ontario (LCBO) said in a statement provided to Internet Retailer. “We look forward to combining our expertise as a socially responsible retailer with Shopify’s world-class commerce solutions to deliver the safe, informed and reliable shopping experience that our new customers will expect.” The LCBO says it secured the contract in late 2017.
Medical marijuana use is currently legal in Canada and recreational marijuana use will become legal in Canada on July 1. Shopify did not respond to a request for comment. Cannabis is big business in Canada. In 2017, about 4.9 million Canadians ages 15 to 64 spent an estimated $4.49 billion on cannabis for medical and non-medical purposes, according to Statistics Canada.
Shopify and the LCBO did not elaborate on the in-store services Shopify would provide, but in April Shopify launched its own point-of-sale chip and magnetic stripe card reader. The mobile reader attaches to Google Android and Apple iOS devices. Merchants using the reader can benefit from managing their web and store sales in one spot, Shopify says.
Currently in Canada, cannabis producers grow their crops and then send them to medical patients via mail or courier service. However, with the recreational legalization around the corner in Canada, some provinces are considering allowing the opening of cannabis shops, says Cam Battley, chief corporate officer for Edmonton, Canada-based Aurora Cannabis Enterprises Inc., a licensed producer and seller of medical cannabis. He says the terms of cannabis sales in the country are decided on a province-by-province basis. Medical cannabis patients in the country can order online through Aurora’s site or via its app.
Cannabis is swiftly becoming a big and legal business across the globe as more regions and countries legalize it for recreational use, Battley says
”It’s going to be as big globally as brewing or distilling,” he says. Battley says Aurora plans to offer its products and services to recreational users when cannabis is legalized in the country.
Aurora offers same-day delivery of medical cannabis in Calgary and Edmonton and next-day delivery in several regions as well, and its app offers push notifications of new products and cannabis strains as they become available. He says the app has decreased customer service calls to the company by 50%. More than 20,000 of the some 300,000 registered medical marijuana patients in Canada use Aurora, Battley says. According to the Canadian government, there were 235,621 Canadian medical marijuana users as of September 2017.
Aurora also operates a 55,200-square-foot cannabis production facility in Mountain View County, Alberta, known as Aurora Mountain; a second 40,000-square-foot technology production facility known as Aurora Vie in Pointe-Claire, Quebec, on Montreal’s West Island; and is currently constructing an 800,000-square-foot production facility, known as Aurora Sky—which will be bigger than 16 football fields—at the Edmonton International Airport, Battley says. It’s also completing a fourth facility in Lachute, Quebec, through its wholly owned subsidiary Aurora Larssen Projects Ltd.Favorite