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LCBO finalizes deal with Shopify for online, in-store cannabis sales system

Shopify’s ecommerce platform will be used to moderate cannabis sales in Ontario

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The Ontario Cannabis Retail Corporation’s (OCRC) online and in-store cannabis sales will be moderated by the Shopify’ ecommerce platform.

The OCRC is the cannabis arm of the Liquor Control Board of Ontario (LCBO), and will be responsible for regulating the sale of recreational cannabis once the drug is formally legalized.

Shopify is set to provide the OCRC with a cloud-based platform for online and brick-and-mortar sales, designed to be used across desktop, mobile and in-store point-of-sales systems.

According to an email statement sent to MobileSyrup, Shopify was selected by the OCRC, “as they demonstrated the necessary capabilities to build an in-store and online commerce solution that will work” for Ontario’s cannabis retail corporation.

“We look forward to combining out expertise as a socially responsible retailer with Shopify’s world-class commerce solutions…”

“Our top priority is fulfilling the Province’s framework for the safe and sensible retailing of recreational cannabis for when it is legalized by the federal government,” said George Soleas, president and CEO of the LCBO, in an email statement to MobileSyrup.

“We look forward to combining our expertise as a socially responsible retailer with Shopify’s world-class commerce solutions to deliver the safe, informed and reliable shopping experience that our new customers will expect.”

The Ontario government has already released a guideline for how it plans to regulate cannabis use in the province.

The province hopes to have online distribution and approximately 40 standalone stores available by July 2018.

Cannabis will also not be sold in the same stores as alcohol.

Deal is done, application to come

While Shopify and the LCBO have formally signed the platform deal, the platform’s precise design has yet to be determined.

“Shopify and OCRC will be working collaboratively to integrate Shopify’s commerce solutions for both on and offline,” said an LCBO spokesperson in an email to MobileSyrup.

In addition to pricing information, shoppers will be able to access product and health information on any cannabis products they hope to purchase.

“Our top priority is fulfilling the Province’s framework for the safe and sensible retailing of recreational cannabis…”

“Shopify’s service will provide the backend technology to power screens throughout the physical stores that provide consumers with product and health information, which will follow federal guidelines and marketing provisions as determined once federal legislation passes,” said the same LCBO spokesperson.

The federal government stated in April 2017 that it hopes to pass recreational cannabis legislation by July 2018.

Liberal marijuana legislation cleared the House of Commons in November 2017, and is currently under review by the Senate.

Canada has yet to formally legal recreational cannabis, and marijuana continues to remain a Schedule II drug under the Controlled Drug and Substances Act — excluding consumption for medical purposes.

Update 12/02/2018 (3:44pm ET): Shopify responded for comment, stating that the company has nothing more to add at this time.

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