Pot deliveries could slow down everyone's mail: union

The union that represents postal workers in the Halifax area says letter carriers are taking the addition of mail-order marijuana in stride, but is cautioning that deliveries could slow down as the system struggles to keep up with demand.

'It’s time consuming so the routes are not built for someone to spend so much time at a door'

The Canadian Union of Postal Workers says that pot deliveries through the mail could slow down the entire delivery service. (Andrew Vaughan/Canadian Press)

The union that represents postal workers in the Halifax area says letter carriers are taking the addition of mail-order marijuana in stride, but is cautioning that deliveries could slow down as the system struggles to keep up with demand.

Tony Rodgers, president of the Nova Local of the Canadian Union of Postal Workers, said letter carriers have been delivering prescription marijuana for some time, so the mere fact of carrying pot isn't new.

"For the most part, everybody is good with it, we just want to make sure processes and procedures are in place for health and safety," said Rodgers. 

"The challenge for us, with this, is that we figure there's going to be a lot more of these products than there were of the other. It's time consuming." 

Age verification takes time

In order to make sure the pot gets to the right person, postal workers need to check a person's identification to make sure they're over the age of 19 and have them sign for the package, even if that person gets their mail at a community mailbox.  

Canada Post already delivers medical marijuana and other special packages this way, but Rodgers said that's only the occasional piece of mail. He expects recreational pot deliveries will far outnumber those.   

"The routes are not built for someone to spend so much time at a door," said Rodgers.

Tony Rodgers is president of the Nova Local of the Canadian Union of Postal Workers. (David Laughlin/CBC)

"If you have one signature item that you have to verify age that's one thing, if you have 70 of them then it's going to take you a lot longer to accomplish your deliveries."

That means everyone on a route will be waiting longer to get their mail. 

If someone orders pot and misses their home delivery, the mail carrier will leave a note at their residence telling them which post office they have to go to to retrieve it.

Looming labour dispute

The Canadian Union of Postal Workers has given strike notice to Canada Post and its workers could walk of the job as early as Monday. (Ted S. Warren/Associated Press)

There could be another barrier on the horizon: the union and Canada Post have reached an impasse in their contract negotiations, with CUPW members voting to go on strike.           

"For most people I guess they'll have to find it wherever they've been finding it for the last 50 years. But there's also stores available now," said Rodgers, "It's just that you'll have to go to the store and get it."  

Canada Post's 50,000 employees could start rotating strikes as early as Monday.

About the Author

David Burke

Reporter

David Burke is a reporter in Halifax who covers everything from politics to science. His reports have been featured on The National, World Report and As it Happens, as well as the Information Morning shows in Halifax and Cape Breton.

With files from Amy Smith