Saskatoon

'They've made it very hard': Saskatoon pot delivery company chafes at strict rules

A locally-owned business that wants to deliver marijuana door-to-door through its app has faced hurdles in the form of provincial rules.

Designated Delivery already sells alcohol door-to-door

A Saskatoon-based marijuana delivery company says it's struggling with strict provincial rules. (Associated Press)

A Saskatoon-owned business that wants to deliver marijuana door-to-door through its app has faced hurdles in the form of provincial rules.

While Designated Delivery has been selling and delivering alcohol to customers since February, it needs to find a brick-and-mortar shop to partner with before it can expand its business to pot.

"It's been very tough," said co-owner Sam Bahm. "They've made it very hard, and there have been a lot of hoops that we've had to jump through to even get where we are."

The Saskatchewan Liquor and Gaming Authority (SLGA) states that pot can only be sold through through a licensed marijuana retailer's website, not direct through an app, as is common practice in the food delivery market.

"[The app] just makes it easier for the user," said Bahm. 

Designated Delivery has completed every other hurdle to open, from permitting to insurance to courses drivers need before they are allowed to deliver marijuana.

The company already has stiff competition. Last week, two large marijuana delivery companies set up shop in Saskatoon, with partnerships already in place with some of the higher-profile weed merchants in the city.

"We see us as being the leader here in Saskatoon basically because of the compliance factor," said Randy Rolph, CEO of Pineapple Express Delivery. "We're approved by SLGA, and if you look in Winnipeg, we're the only same-day delivery company. We've taken control of [Winnipeg] and that's our ultimate goal here in Saskatchewan."

Pineapple Express has already partnered with Jimmy's Cannabis and is in talks with other retailers.

Rolph said the company has been working to make sure it complies with other governmental rules, from driver safety and insurance to software security.

"Our goal is to bring in a 100 per cent compliant, safe and easy delivery system that abides by all the rules and regulations either of the province or of Health Canada," said Rolph.

Meanwhile, Designated Delivery is confident it will be delivering marijuana to customers within the next few weeks. The company is in talks with local shops. Bahm said he believes partnerships will happen soon.

"We've got close to a thousand app downloads now ... and that's going to go up exponentially," said Bahm. "So, obviously, it's in the cannabis retailers' best interest to be with a company that is making headway in this space."

In a statement, SLGA said it has recognized the interest in a door-to-door delivery system and will consider making changes in the future when it reviews cannabis rules. 

"For now, we just kind of have to go along with their rules to comply," said Bahm.

SLGA said the rules are in place to make sure public safety and community concerns are addressed.

Marijuana delivery companies in Saskatchewan are not allowed to advertise. Companies are only allowed to sell 30 grams of dried pot to clients per order.

Drivers must also confirm buyers are of legal age.

With files from Guy Quenneville

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