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Exclusive-Uber takes new trip with cannabis orders in Ontario



© Reuters. FILE PHOTO: A screen displays the company logo of Uber Technologies Inc on the day of its IPO at the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE) in New York, U.S., May 10, 2019. REUTERS/Brendan McDermid/File Photo

By Rithika Krishna

(Reuters) -Uber’s delivery and takeout unit has partnered with cannabis retailer Tokyo Smoke to allow online cannabis orders through Uber (NYSE:) Eats in Ontario, Canada, marking the ride-hailing company’s foray into the business, a company spokesperson said on Monday.

Uber, which already delivers liquor through its Eats unit, has had its sights set on the burgeoning cannabis market for some time now. Its CEO Dara Khosrowshahi told media https://cnb.cx/3HL1R5I in April the company will consider delivering cannabis when the legal coast is clear in the U.S.

With more than three years into Canada’s legalisation of recreational cannabis, the country is trying to fix its ailing pot market, where illegal producers still control a large share of total annual sales.

The partnership will help Canadian adults purchase safe, legal cannabis, helping combat the underground illegal market which still accounts for over 40% of all non-medical cannabis sales nationally, Uber said on Monday.

Customers will be able to order cannabis from the Uber Eats app and pick it up at their nearest Tokyo Smoke store.

Asked about the possibility of expansion into other Canadian provinces, or in the United States, an Uber spokesperson said there is “nothing more to share at this time”.

“We will continue to watch regulations and opportunities closely market by market. And as local and federal laws evolve, we will explore opportunities with merchants who operate in other regions,” the Uber spokesperson told Reuters.

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The Tokyo Smoke storefronts will be live on the Uber Eats app starting Monday 9 a.m. ET.

Last year’s pandemic-induced stricter mandates and lockdowns spurred demand for cannabis-related products from customers who were stuck at home with limited entertainment options.

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