ontario cannabis stores

People want cannabis stores to be considered essential businesses in Ontario again

Despite being permitted to stay open long past other non-essential businesses in Ontario, all 52 cannabis retail stores across the province have now been forced to shutter due to being removed from the updated list of essential businesses.

Cannabis stores made it onto the original list of businesses that were allowed to remain open in the province throughout the COVID-19 pandemic, but Premier Doug Ford eventually had to revise the list as cases have continued to rise and many criticized that it was unnecessarily long.

But now that cannabis businesses have been removed from the equation, advocates are arguing that this gives an unfair monopoly to the Ontario Cannabis Store

A petition has even been created to convince the province to put cannabis stores back on the list of essential businesses, but only so that they can provide delivery and curbside pick-up options.

"Ford updated his list of non-essential businesses to include brick and mortar, legal cannabis retailers. This new labeling will cripple 52 businesses and enable the highly contentious, 'Online Cannabis Store' to have a monopoly in Ontario," the petition description states.

"We believe Ford's measure, while being done under good intentions, is an overreaction and will do more harm than good to our local economy."

The petition, which was created by cannabis website Wikileaf.com, proposes that Ford label the industry as "essential" once again and temporarily allow private licensed cannabis retailers to deliver cannabis orders to a customer's residence or to a vehicle on the licensed dispensary's premises, and allow customers to pre-order and pick up their purchases via curbside services.

The petition also notes that LCBO and Beer Store outlets are still included on the list of essential businesses and customers are actually permitted to shop in store, which is more risky than allowing cannabis stores to provide delivery and pick-up services. 

The petition has garnered a total of 2,952 signatures as of Monday morning, and considering the number of people who've become cannabis users since the pandemic began, it'll likely receive far more in the coming days.

Lead photo by

Hector Vasquez


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