Potential Canada Post Strike Reveals Flaws In Licensed Producer System

A potential Canada Post strike or lockout July 2 has licensed cannabis producers looking at a patchwork of courier options to provide patients with their medicine.

Under Health Canada MMPR rules, the licensed producers are only able to provide medical cannabis by mail, with the majority using Canada Post, but the mail service says it can’t promise delivery of prescriptions if he work stoppage goes ahead.

Canada Post spokesperson Jon Hamilton said if a deal isn’t made before July 2, orders made after today could be stuck in a warehouse.

Canopy Growth Corp. CEO Bruce Linton said licensed producers send tens of thousands of shipments through Canada Post each month, with the national carrier able to reach small communities that other mail services won’t.

“We are a good and getting-better-every-day customer of Canada Post,” said Linton. “And so it is kind of unfortunate and ridiculous that this [postal dispute] will have them not be able to service a market that’s actually growing for them.”

Other licensed producers said that a loss of Canada Post service will leave patients without their medicine, leaving some looking at dispensaries to fill the void that the licensed producers aren’t able to.

National Access Cannabis chairman Chuck Rifici said the strike exposes serious flaws in the medical cannabis system.

“It really highlights how I don’t think it really makes sense to have a mail order model,” said Rifici. “The patients and cannabis advocates have been clamouring for increased access.”