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HIGHLIGHTS
  1. The Ontario Cannabis Store was previously accepting bids for same-day delivery of recreational cannabis starting in the Greater Toronto Area and expanding province-wide
  2. Bids on the $450,000 contract were originally due in February with service expected to start in March, but the OCS had previously extended the deadline to May
  3. Delivery service providers say the decision to cancel the tender process will make it more difficult for the OCS to compete with the illegal market

Ontario residents hoping to receive legal recreational cannabis ordered online the same day it was purchased are officially out of luck.

The Ontario Cannabis Store is no longer accepting bids for same-day delivery services, the government-owned retailer confirmed late Friday. As Cannabis Professional first reported in January, the OCS originally set an early February deadline for bidders to submit expressions of interest on a $450,000 contract to provide “expedited/same-day home delivery service” through 2021.

Same-day deliveries were initially scheduled to commence in the Greater Toronto Area on March 1st, but the OCS extended the deadline for submissions late last mont to May 1st and declined to provide a revised launch date at the time

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Since launching wholesale operations as the first brick-and-mortar cannabis stores opened in the province earlier this month, the OCS has “realized operational efficiencies... which have resulted in expedited delivery times, and is foregoing the competitive process previously started as a result,” spokesperson Amanda Winton said via email.

“We know our customers are looking forward to expedited delivery options and we look forward to adding more delivery options in the future,” Ms. Winton said.

Ryan Dempsey, CEO of Toronto-based cannabis delivery service Eddy Delivery, said he was surprised to hear the tender process had been cancelled.

“Without a path to same day delivery of legal cannabis, it is crucial that the province acts quickly to introduce regulations that allow for on-demand delivery, similar to what exists for alcohol,” Mr. Dempsey said.

"Such a framework would improve access to legal cannabis and make it more competitive against the [illegal] market.”

Currently, the shortest possible delivery time for orders placed on the OCS website is one business day. Provincial law bans physical cannabis retail stores in Ontario - though less than two dozen are currently operating province-wide - from having an e-commerce presence, granting the government-owned OCS an effective monopoly over online sales.

Pineapple Express Delivery, which offers same-day shipping for recreational cannabis in Manitoba and medical cannabis in the GTA, was one of the bidders for the now-cancelled OCS contract. Randy Rolph, the company’s founder and CEO, is staying optimistic about the possibility of the OCS restarting the tender process in the future.

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“If it is canceled for now, well that means no one won,” he said. “That means we are still in the running.”

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