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Thursday, Oct 21, 2021
Mugglehead Magazine
Cannabis & psychedelics industry news based in Vancouver, B.C.
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COVID-19

Fire & Flower ups online options, says Ontario closures bolster black market

The retailer will be offering curbside pickup in Saskatchewan and is asking Ontario allow more online options for private retailers

Fire-Flower-ups-online-options-says-Ontario-closures-bolster-black-market

Prolific Canadian pot retailer Fire & Flower is offering more ways for its customers to purchase and procure products without walking into a physical store.

Fire & Flower Holdings Corp. (TSX: FAF) said it’s launching a curbside pickup program this Wednesday in Saskatchewan. The new online option is in addition to an existing same-day delivery service offered in select markets in the province.

In a statement, the company said the new option is part of its rapid deployment of health and safety practices to maintain successful retail operations during the COVID-19 health crisis. But it also criticized Ontario’s decision on Friday to order the closure of weed stores.

Read more: Ontario’s latest round of store closures includes all 52 weed stores

“The temporary closure of legal cannabis retailers in certain markets, particularly in the province of Ontario, may bolster the illicit market and the potential sale of unregulated, potentially harmful products without oversight of health and safety practices, inventory tracking, product testing and sales and marketing to young persons,” Fire & Flower said.

The company said it “firmly” believes private retail delivery services and curbside pickup programs can provide safe access to legal cannabis products in support of Canadians’ common goal of slowing the spread of COVID-19, and eliminating the illicit cannabis market.

“Fire & Flower’s core focus as a technology-enabled retail 2.0 company has provided us with a distinct competitive advantage in an environment where social, political and economic conditions are fundamentally changing the ways that retail companies can safely conduct their business,” CEO Trevor Fencott said in the statement.

He said his company’s rewards program of more than 90,000 cannabis customers provides a channel to drive customers to programs such as curbside pickup and delivery and is a competitive advantage compared to retailers who rely solely on foot traffic to drive sales.

Following the Ontario policy shift, Fire & Flower temporarily closed its Ottawa and Kingston locations on Saturday. The company said it’s hopeful the province will evaluate the potential impact of the closure of private cannabis retail on the proliferation of the illicit market.

Fire & Flower previously announced the temporary closure of seven Alberta stores also due to the COVID-19 pandemic. However, the company says to check its website for updates and changes to hours of operations at its 48 locations across Canada.

Read more: Canadian retailers applaud provinces for calling cannabis ‘essential’

Top image via Fire & Flower

nick@mugglehead.com

@nick_laba

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