Ford government says postal strike will not derail pot deliveries

By Paola Loriggio, The Canadian Press

The Ontario government says it has a backup plan in place to ensure the delivery of recreational cannabis in case of a Canada Post strike next week, but it isn’t saying what that arrangement is.

Finance Minister Vic Fedeli insisted the province would be able to fill orders made through its cannabis website if the Canadian Union of Postal Workers proceeds with rotating strikes starting Monday.

Asked how the province would proceed, Fedeli said Thursday there was “no sense” in detailing a contingency plan for a strike that might not take place.

The union representing 50,000 Canada Post employees has given notice that workers could walk off the job as early as Monday if agreements aren’t reached with the Urban Postal Operations and Rural and Suburban Mail Carriers bargaining units.

The union has said it decided to issue the strike notice after the nearly year-long talks stalled with the two sides fairly far apart.

Meanwhile, the government’s online cannabis store says high demand is delaying delivery, which could now take up to five business days instead of up to three as initially estimated.

The Ontario Cannabis Store launched Wednesday as recreational cannabis became legal across Canada and it remains the only legal purchasing option in the province until private retail stores open in April next year.

A spokesman for the store said the site was busy but had experienced no technical issues so far.

“The response to cannabis legalization has resulted in a high volume of orders. Customers can expect their order to be delivered within one to five business days. We apologize for any inconvenience,” Daffyd Roderick said in an email.

Roderick said the store would not be releasing sales statistics at this time. The government said Wednesday there had been some 38,000 orders in the site’s first few hours of operation.

The province’s cannabis legislation allows people to smoke marijuana anywhere that smoking tobacco is permitted, with the exception of cars and boats.

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