Area of Law: Cannabis Law
Answer # 2423
What safeguards are in place for online sales?Region: Ontario Answer # 2423
In Canada, depending on where you live, cannabis and cannabis products can be purchased in retail stores or online. In order to ensure that cannabis and CBD products ordered from an online website are safe and secure, there are safeguards put in place by the government regarding packaging and delivery. As well, consumers can take certain steps to ensure their order is legal and safe, and their privacy is protected.
Age gated websites
Since cannabis can only be purchased by adults who have attained the age to legally purchase and possess cannabis, cannabis websites are ‘age gated’. In Ontario, the minimum age is 19. Before entering the website and viewing products, the user must enter information about their age. Some websites simply have a button that the user clicks which says that they confirm they have attained the legal age, other sites require more information, such as the province where the person lives and their exact date of birth.
Obviously, such simply methods will not guarantee that a teen under the legal age can’t enter the site. There have been discussions about creating a more intrusive screening process, which would require verification through person records, such as mobile telephone records and government issued identification. Such requirements may prove to contravene privacy laws, and may also be in violation of laws in other countries if the user is not in Canada.
How are online orders placed and processed?
After entering the information required by the age gate, the user is able to enter the website and view products. If the user decides to purchase a product, they will be required to enter the usual information needed to make a purchase online:
- confirmation of age,
- email address,
- delivery address, and
- payment information.
When orders are delivered, procedures are in place by Canada Post and other delivery services to ensure that the individual receiving the order is of legal age:
- shipments must be signed for,
- proof of age is mandatory: if person accepting delivery or picking up at a Canada Post outlet appears to be younger than 25, government-issued photo ID must be shown,
- when proof of age is required, Canada Post will record the name and signature of the receiver,
- shipments are tracked, so the person receiving the order, the sender, and Canada Post can track the parcel from when it leaves the sender to when it is delivered.
How is your order kept private?
When cannabis and cannabis products, including CBD oil and vaping devices are purchased online, just like any other online purchase, data security and privacy controls must be in place. The seller must follow Canadian Federal and Provincial privacy laws to keep a consumer’s personal information secure and protected.
How must packages be delivered?
In Canada, licensed distributors of cannabis and cannabis products are responsible for ensuring their shipments follow the laws and regulations of the federal and provincial governments. This includes including packaging and labeling regulations. There are a number of safeguards in place to ensure online orders are safe and discreet. For example:
- products ordered online are delivered in discreet packaging which does not indicate the contents,
- products must be packaged in containers that are tamper-proof and child-resistant,
- packages must contain health warnings from Health Canada,
- cannabis containers must have a standard THC symbol inside a red stop sign,
- containers must be odour-proof.
How to know your delivery is legal and from a reliable source
Consumers can ensure that the cannabis products they buy online are from legitimate sources, by:
- confirming that they are purchasing legally produced cannabis products by verifying that there is a cannabis excise stamp on their product (each province and territory has a different coloured cannabis excise stamp),
- checking that the producer / supplier of your order is on Health Canada’s list of licensed producers or is licensed through your provincial or territorial government as a retail provider.
What if you have a problem with your delivery?
If you have a problem with a product that has been ordered online, or if it was never delivered to you, you should contact the place it was ordered from. In addition, if you were provided with a tracking number and the name of the delivery company, you can contact them for information.
How much can you buy online?
Whether you are ordering online or purchasing cannabis from a retail store, under the Federal Cannabis Act adults can legally purchase and possess up-to 30 grams of cannabis, dried or equivalent in non-dried form. Consumers cannot buy more than 30 grams of cannabis at one time, however, they can place several online orders. When shopping, the online system tracks what is put in the consumer’s cart to ensure only the allowable 30-gram limit is purchased.
For more information, refer to topic # 2361 How much cannabis can you legally possess?
For legal advice and assistance with a cannabis related matter, contact our preferred cannabis law expert, Harrison Jordan Law .
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