The provincial government of British Columbia has announced that Shopify will be handling the online sales of cannabis for BC's Liquor Distribution Board (LDB). That's the second provincial contract secured by the e-commerce platform, which made similar arrangements earlier this year with the government of Ontario.
"Shopify was chosen for its proven record of on-time execution, user-friendly design and long-term approach to anticipating consumer needs beyond the implementation phase," said Blain Lawson, LDB’s general manager and CEO in a press release.
Since BC will be implementing a hybrid model where cannabis will be sold by both the province and private retailers, Shopify's deal with the province will be different from the one they signed with Ontario. Shopify will handle all the online sales as well as provide point-of-sales services for the handful of government operated dispensaries that will be established across the province.
"It will be ordered and delivered like any retail package," Loren Padelford, Shopify's vice president, told the Financial Post. “The differences are going to be compliance related, where you’re going to have to have age-identity verification, both at purchase but also in delivery.
Shopify will also be coordinating sales between cannabis cultivators and the BC government. All licensed cannabis producers operating in the province will be required to sell their stock to the province, who will take care of distributing it to private as well as provincially owned retailers.
Padelford expects things will take off rather quickly in British Columbia once October 17th comes around due to the province's already well established cannabis markets.
"I think what you’re going to see from BC is probably a larger initial reality because they’re already so deep into this, versus other provinces where this is going to be a very new experience."