Nearing the one-month mark of Canada officially legalizing recreational cannabis use, Ontario residents are having an easy time deciphering between products, thanks in part to descriptive custom label usage among dispensaries. However, customers clearly aren't walking away from their desktops, laptops and mobile devices satisfied.
"Ontario's ombudsman has received over one thousand complaints."
As reported by The Canadian Press, Ontario's ombudsman has received well over a thousand complaints filed by visitors to the province's online cannabis store since it launched in mid-October. Although they're finding the website fairly simple to navigate and identify product pricing via label software, they've run into troubles in other respects, such as with checkout, uncertainty regarding when their orders will be delivered and inaccurate estimates as to when said their packages will arrive.
Recreational cannabis users in Canada's largest province are unlike other portions of Canada; the only place they can obtain legal marijuana is through the government-run website, the aptly named Ontario Cannabis Store. As the Oct. 17 dateline loomed, lawmakers inserted this provision into the legislation as a compromise to pushing the legalization date back further, the National Post reported.
100,000 Orders In First Day
But the online marketplace for all things cannabis has experienced a number of problems since its debut, caused in part by high volume. Indeed, within the first 24 hours, over 100,000 orders were submitted, far higher than what was anticipated, according to CBC News.
Regan Bluett told the news organization that she logged on to the site on Oct. 17. Several days later, curious as to why she hadn't been updated about her order's status, she called customer service, only to find that it had been canceled.
"There wasn't even an email notification," Bluett explained. "And then I even checked online and it still says, 'Thanks, we're processing it.' And it's still pending on my credit card."
Bluett isn't alone in her frustration. CBC News spoke with several recreational cannabis users, each of whom had their order canceled or were undetermined.
Overwhelming volume levels appear to be the root of the issue, exacerbated by postal workers on strike. At the top of OCS' website, a notice states "Due to extremely high demand and complications related to the current labour situation at Canada Post, delivery times may be longer than expected."
Inquiry May Be Required
Is an investigation in the offing? Not in the immediate future, according to ombudsman Paul Dube. Speaking to The Canadian Press, Dube said he's confident OCS will be able to iron things out. However, a formal inquiry into the matter is possible if the delays continue, although he didn't reference a specific date as to when one would be merited.
In the meantime, recreational users in Ontario will have to wait until April before they can buy labeled marijuana products at brick-and-mortar in-province locations, according to the National Post. They'll have plenty to shop at when the time comes, with government officials estimating between 500 and 1,000 in Ontario alone.
As to what's on sale at OCS, products include gel capsules, cannabis oil, pre-rolled joints and dried flour, the Post noted.