As the Canada approaches the legalization of recreational cannabis later this year, there have been many questions still lingering about how Alberta’s online marijuana sales would be managed. Earlier this week, Michelle Hynes-Dawson, the spokeswoman from the Alberta Liquor and Gaming Commission, announced that they be contracting U.S. based IT firm OnX Enterprise Solutions.
The three year contract is worth $4.6 million and will fund the development of a provincial cannabis website and manage the system. AGLC’s spokeswoman noted that, “They (OnX) certainly stood out for their experience. They have done similar work with e-commerce solutions around North America and the U.K. for organizations we’re very familiar with, like Canadian Tire, Loblaws … and American Express.”
As a subdivision of Cincinnati Bell Inc., Onx was one one of six technology solution companies to apply for the contract last month. If the system works well, the contract can be extended for up to 10 years at a cost of $15.8 million. Boasting over 1500 IT professionals, OnX Enterprise Solutions maintains 22 offices across the U.S., Canada, and U.K.
The current contract is specifically designed for the development and implementation of Alberta’s online marijuana sales system and provides no incentives for OnX to dedicate resources to increase sales. Once in place, consumers should be able to purchase cannabis as they would on any other ecommerce site, using major credit cards or Paypal.
Several U.S. based companies have been hesitant to bid for such contracts in fear of accusations of money laundering from the federal government. It seems OnX Enterprise Solutions’ bold move has paid off and could potentially pioneer this sector of the blossoming cannabis industry.
The Alberta Liquor and Gaming Commission will be enforcing all regulations that apply to retailers, distributors, warehousing and online sales, but smaller private companies will actually own the physical dispensaries. There are already several licensed cultivators who have expressed interest in supplying the recreational market, however the ALGC has yet to issue any official contracts to producers.
Alberta’s online marijuana sales system will not prevent brick and mortar marijuana retailers from establishing their own ecommerce websites that offer pick-up and delivery service. Many dispensaries are already utilizing services like Potify to optimize their businesses online sales. Any cannabis sales made online by private retailers will still be subject to compliance regulations but could increase their revenue by up to 25%.
Advanced dispensary point of sale software, like IndicaOnline, is providing online integration tools for existing storefronts and cannabis retailers that will be ready to open as soon as they are issued a license. To learn more about IndicaOnline’s industry specific software solution for marijuana dispensaries, sign-up for a free 14-day trial to see the extensive capability of our point of sale system.