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article imageOntario Liquor Control Board announces cannabis deal

By Ken Hanly     Feb 13, 2018 in Business
Toronto - The Ontario government will use Shopify's e-commerce platform for cannabis sales online and also in stores. The province intends to be the only distributor of legal recreational cannabis.
Online and mobile sales will be through the Ontario Cannabis Retail Corporation (OCRC) a subsidiary of the Liquor Control Board of Ontario (LCBO).
George Soleas, the CEO of the LCBO said: “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.”
READ MORE: Blockchain for Canadian cannabis industry
Shopify technology will be used not only online but also to process payments on iPads and to display product and health information in brick and mortar locations.
Another big win for Shopify
Shopify was chosen to provide the sales platform for cannabis sales back in late 2017. The announcement comes as another feather in the cap for Shopify, which has had many things to celebrate in recent years. The company claims that it has more than 500,000 merchants using its program and the total gross merchandise volume the platform handles is more than $45 billion per year.
Loren Padelford vice-president of Shopify Plus, the division the focuses on big clients, said: “Bringing this differentiator to the LCBO on this historic project to consumers of legal age across Ontario is a great example of a made-in-Canada innovation, which we are proud to be a part of,” said Loren Padelford, vice-president of Shopify Plus, the division that focuses on big clients.
Liquor Control Board of Ontario (LCBO)
The LCBO has a quasi-monopoly of liquor sales in Ontario, Canada's most populous province having over 13 million people or about 40 percent of the country's total population. As a result LCBO is one the largest purchasers of alcohol in the world.
As of September last year the LCBO was operating 651 liquor stores.
The cannabis subsidiary OCRC said that Ontarians will have the same access to product information, use guidelines and social responsibility information online and in stores.
OCRC planning to have system ready for July of 2018
The OCRC is in the process of designing the user experience, in the hope of having operations ready for the launch of legalization of cannabis sales in July this year. As well as the online sales the OCRC plans to have 40 stores. This is expected to grow to 150 by the end of the year 2020. Unlike some other provinces such as Alberta and British Columbia sales will only be through the government online or in stores with no private sales.
Legalization bill has already passed the House of Commons
The bill was passed largely along party lines but gained the support of the opposition NDP and also the Green Party. The final vote was 200 MPs in favor as contrasted with just 82 against. One Conservative opposition member, Scott Reid, voted for the bill after polling his constituents and found a plurality favored the bill.
The bill now goes to the Senate for further study and debate.
While the Liberal government expects the bill to be approved before July it recognizes that it may take some provinces 8 to 12 weeks to roll out a system that will allow consumers to purchase legal recreational cannabis.
More about LCBO, Ontario, Cannabis, legal cannabis
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