Brett Chang is one of the lucky ones. He’s actually gotten his legal weed. And he hasn’t even smoked his joint yet.
The 27-year-old put in his order to the Ontario Cannabis Store’s website “immediately at midnight” on Oct. 17, the day pot became legal.
The online government retailer has been plagued with delays and complaints from customers. But Chang’s order arrived promptly before noon on Friday, Oct. 19, within the then-promised three-day window.
“It was a pretty quick turnaround,” he said, describing the whole experience as “a very seamless process.”
As an adviser to an on-demand delivery company that’s hoping to get a licence to deliver weed, he’s part of the industry, but describes himself as a casual user, who was curious about the process.
He has yet try it out. Maybe this weekend.
“I bought a pre-roll for $20, which is actually I think embarrassing,” he said. “I really bought it for the novelty of it all.”
The Ontario Cannabis Store (OCS) announced this week in a press release that Canada Post strikes and “unbelievably high demand” means “longer-than-expected delivery times for some people.”
The website has processed more than 100,000 orders since the legalization of cannabis, according to the OCS.
Unlike most Canadians, Ontarians are, for the moment, limited to buying pot online. The provincial government will allow private retailers to sell recreational cannabis starting April 1.
The OCS did not respond to a request for the exact numbers of people still waiting for orders by 5 p.m. Wednesday, but social media forums, including Twitter and Reddit, are filled with comments from people still waiting.
Like Alyssa Campbell, who ordered $185 worth of products from the OCS on Oct. 17, when the site was promising a delivery time of 1-3 days. That window changed later that day, she said, to up to five days and now there isn’t any timeline promised.
“I kept checking it all day … it was really an exciting day for a lot of people,” she said. “And that sort of excitement has for sure fizzled out.”
Campbell works in retail and has been on the front lines of Boxing Day and Black Friday sales, so she understands overwhelming demand.
She doesn’t think the province was prepared at all though, not just for the volume, but “for any orders.”
The lack of transparency, she says, is one of the most frustrating things — “hearing nothing” after almost six business days.
“You really botched it,” she said, adding people’s confidence in the system has “dwindled,” and she expects many will turn to the black market.
Patrick Tomasso is more fortunate. He made his order for “a couple pre-rolls and a gram of loose leaf” a few minutes after midnight. It also arrived Friday.
The 29-year-old even made an “unboxing video,” a nod to the YouTube trend of people making videos unwrapping long-anticipated orders. In his, he showed the “basic” packaging” — the pre-rolled joints in a sealed package inside a cardboard box under brown paper, and a pamphlet on safe usage.
He’s tried some of the loose leaf in a vaporizer, and so far is a satisfied customer.
“This felt safe and it felt like something that was like official,” he said over the phone from New York City, where he’s vacationing without his weed.
“So I think even my psychological mindset going into it was better than (with) sketchy weed I might have tried in the past.”
Tomasso is not a “heavy smoker” but says now that it’s legal, he’s “more inclined to experiment and dabble with it,” because he knows what he’s getting.
He made another order for two more grams of loose-leaf over the weekend. It hasn’t arrived yet.
“I might as well get ahead of this now because it’s probably not going to show up for like God knows when now,” he said.
May Warren is a breaking news reporter based in Toronto. Follow her on Twitter: @maywarren11