Barely a month has passed since Canada officially legalized recreational cannabis sales and, already, cannabis products are running out. The cannabis shortage has become a national issue and, apparently, provinces are scrambling for new supply sources.
In the province of Alberta, the shortage has led to certain disputes between some businesses. And the Alberta cannabis regulator has decided to step in and change certain cannabis guidelines in order to address these disputes.
Why the change?
The Alberta Gaming, Liquor and Cannabis, which acts as regulator for the province’s cannabis program, is changing the way it distributes the drug. This after some pot retailers complained that they could not buy any cannabis products while their competitors can.
The regulator has decided to no longer allow retailers to order cannabis online. According to the AGLC, retailers would have to manually order products.
Licensed retailers were supposed to place their orders via the AGLC website. And, supposedly, the first company to stake a claim to a cannabis product would receive it.
However, according to AGLC, they have not received the cannabis products that they ordered from growers. So, they have to change the rules a bit.
The AGLC said that the fact that demand exceeded expectations and current market conditions are like what they now mean that the current online ordering plan did not work as they want it to.
Because of the shortage, retailers are fiercely competing for whatever cannabis product they can get their hands on. And many were forced to close shops because they no longer have anything to sell. Most of those that have remained open have very limited supplies.
Some retailers believe, however, that there are those who were able to order cannabis products faster. Stores like Fire and Flower in Edmonton, for example, indicated that it has plenty of stocks in all its stores.
Some have expressed concerns that other stores are using automated bots in order to secure shipments.
Manual order system
Stories that certain stores seem to have it easy when it comes to replenishing their supply prompted the AGLC to make changes to its ordering process. All retailers in the province are now required to manually submit an order form once a week.
It will then be up to the AGLC to determine how to divide whatever supply it has.
While the AGLC insists it is not aware of any automated bots, the new manual method will level the playing field.
According to AGLC’s Riaz Nejad, the fair allocation of inventory will ensure that every retailer gets a fair shot of some products. This helps prevent some retailers from getting more and some from getting none.
But wait, how about the bigger issue?
Still, many are criticizing the new ordering process as it does not really address the bigger issue.
The AGLC has not yet received the shipments that have been promised by cannabis growers. Although the regulator wouldn’t say exactly how much less it has received.
Nejad only stated that the AGLC is “substantially short.”
The AGLC expressed, however, that the cannabis shortage could be chronic. AGLC staff have been seeking to find new suppliers, but they have had no luck so far.