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Cannabis stores in Ontario no longer deemed essential, will close this weekend
Cannabis on display is seen during a media tour of a cannabis store in Kingston, Ont., Sunday, March 31, 2019. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Lars Hagberg
TORONTO -- Cannabis stores across Ontario will have to close as of Saturday night after the provincial government removed them from their list of essential businesses.
Many non-essential businesses in the province have been closed under government order since March 24, but cannabis and liquor stores have remained open.
At the time the initial list of what would remain open and what would have to close during the COVID-19 pandemic, Ontario Premier Doug Ford said mental health and addiction experts voiced that is was “absolutely critical” to keep these stores open.
“There are people out there with addictions and we’re here to support them,” he said.
However, the provincial government released a revised list of essential businesses on Friday, stating that those no longer classified as essential must close by 11:59 p.m. on Saturday.
Beer and wine and liquor stores continue to be deemed essential and will therefore remain open, but Ontarians looking to purchase legal recreational cannabis come Sunday will only have the online Ontario Cannabis Store (OCS).
OCS has previously ended same-day delivery due to an increasing demand for product during the pandemic.
On March 20, the OCS said they were experiencing a “marked increase” in sales but added that they do have “sufficient inventory” to meet the new demand.