Uber Technologies snack delivery service Uber Eats has set its sights on another growing industry in the Canadian province of Ontario, Reuters reports.
Yeah, it’s weed. Canada legalized cannabis in 2018, and since then the market has taken off to reach C $ 5 billion (£ 2.9 billion, $ 3.9 billion) per year – aided by the pandemic leaving smokers confined to their homes with not much else to do but, well, smoke.
Uber CEO Dara Khosrowshahi has previously opened up the marijuana market in the United States, where the psychoactive plant has been largely decriminalized but remains illegal in some states, telling CNBC in April: “When the road will be free for cannabis, when federal laws come into play, we’re definitely going to take a look. “
But Uber Eats doesn’t offer a true door-to-door service, but instead partners with cannabis retailer Tokyo Smoke so that customers can place an order through the smartphone app and then pick it up at their closest branch. close.
According to Reuters, the company says: “The partnership will help Canadian adults purchase safe and legal cannabis, thereby helping to fight the underground illegal market which still accounts for over 40% of all non-medical cannabis sales globally. national.
Indeed, some connoisseurs of cannabis canucks seem to think legal weed is zero and stick to the black market – something the government would like to stamp out for obvious reasons ($$$).
Although a spokesperson for Uber told the newswire that there was “nothing more to share at this time” regarding extending the service to other provinces or the United States, they added, “We will continue to closely monitor regulations and opportunities market by market. And as local and federal laws evolve, we will explore opportunities with traders who operate in other regions.”
While the illicit market may have the best buds, as Canadian enthusiasts claim, we imagine it cannot compete with the pseudo-AI features common to smartphone apps. As Uber Eats is ostensibly a food delivery service, it now occupies a unique position.
“We see that you have ordered cannabis. How would you like some random carbs to go with it? “
A heavenly joint venture, some would say.
Highs and lows
Across the pond, however, the focus is on Uber’s poor record on workers’ rights.
At the start of this year, the carpooling part of the business was before the UK Supreme Court, arguing that its drivers were independent contractors and therefore were not entitled to paid time off, minimum wage and paid breaks.
The judges disagreed, ruling that Uber violated employee rights and possibly Transport for London regulations as well. The company is returning to the High Court today to seek a declaratory judgment on the latter point.
Uber maintains that drivers and passengers contract directly together while claiming to only act as an agent for the driver. The Drivers & Couriers Union App (ADCU) argues that this model “was designed to help Uber avoid its employment and VAT tax obligations by falsely classifying itself as a technology company acting as an agent. rather than as the transport operator for which it is licensed by Transport. London to be. “
Citing the Private Hire Vehicles (London) Act 1998, Supreme Court Justice Lord Leggatt made the observation in July this year. [PDF]: “Uber maintains that the acceptance of private rental bookings by a licensed London PVH operator acting as an agent for the drivers would comply with the regulatory regime. I am not convinced by this … an agreement whereby the drivers contract directly with passengers and Uber London acts only as an agent is not legally available. “
The comment was made “in obiter” (by the way), so Uber is seeking clarification on whether it is legal for Uber to accept reservations on behalf of drivers.
ADCU Chairman Yaseen Aslam, who was the lead plaintiff in the Supreme Court case against Uber, said: “It is outrageous that Uber is launching this brazen lawsuit to undermine the Supreme Court ruling in favor of their own drivers. Instead of reforming their business model. , Uber multiplies classification errors to the detriment of passengers, drivers and the Treasury. “®