B.C. selects Shopify to set up legal online cannabis sales

British Columbians will be able to legally buy cannabis online through the B.C. Liquor Distribution Branch when sales go live Oct. 17, according to the agency, though establishing bricks-and-mortar store locations remains a work in progress.

B.C. LDB today announced that it has picked Canadian online-shopping expert Shopify Inc. to build an e-commerce portal for its legal, recreational cannabis sales, with facilities to serve private retail sales.

Besides being a retailer itself, the branch will be B.C.’s exclusive distributor of recreational weed in the province so Shopify’s task will be to create two websites, one for its own online sales and one to fulfill orders for private retail stores.

LDB general manager Blain Lawson, in a news release, said Shopify won the bid because of its “proven record of on-time execution,” as well as “a long-term approach to anticipating consumer needs beyond implementation.”

The service promises customer age verification on the LDB’s B.C. Cannabis Stores website, which is to be backed up by verification by couriers upon delivery.

“Every decision we make, as we introduce cannabis to our business is underpinned by the social responsibility we have to our communities,” Lawson said, to keep cannabis out of the hands of kids and away from the criminal element.

Lawson also announced that the branch has secured a 6,500-square-metre (70,000-square-foot warehouse on No. 6 Road in Richmond to serve as a distribution centre, which it expects will create 130 jobs.

The warehouse will include a customer call centre to serve private retail stores, its own B.C. Cannabis Stores and online sales and use modern warehouse-management systems to track product information such as expiry dates and lot numbers.

More to come.

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