It’s only been a few days after Canada officially opened its recreational cannabis market and there are already reports that supply is running out.
The first day of recreational cannabis sales was greeted by long queues and swamped websites. So much so that police officers were called to help those shops that are struggling to handle the long lines in the streets and the frustrated buyers.
Needless to say, Canadians were so excited to get their high from cannabis the legal way.
And because of the craze, some cannabis websites and stores in certain cities and provinces were already posting some of their products as unavailable or putting up “out of stock” signs. Some licensed dispensaries were also forced to close shops.
In Quebec, for instance, the SQDC (short for le Société Québécois du Cannabis, which manages cannabis sales in the province) recorded over 12,500 in-store transactions, as well as 30,000 online orders, on opening day.
The SQDC said that given the craze that was created by cannabis legalization and the scarcity of cannabis products across the country, they are expecting significant short-term supply challenges.
In Manitoba, the Manitoba Liquor and Lotteries had warned that shortages of some cannabis products could last months.
Thomas Clarke, who operates THC Distribution in Newfoundland and Labrador, said that he started with low stock because his producer had failed to fill his order. He added that he was shocked that his products sold out really fast, and at the same time upset that he does not have enough products for everyone.
He said he feels like he is letting down a lot of people.
Meanwhile, the Alberta Gaming, Liquor, and Cannabis Commission granted 14 more licenses to retail pot stores in the past week, which brings the total number of shops in the province to 31. However, this increase in storefronts is already showing some strain with all the reported shortages in some provinces.
Patrick Wallace, who owns Waldo’s 420 Store in Alberta, told CBC News that the “supply is just a mess.” He said he is concerned about what would happen once the AGLC opens all expected 250 stores in 2019.
According to Wallace, officials should have worked on the cannabis supply before they legalized the drug. A lot more supply is needed.
There are a number of stores in Edmonton that have already closed doors after they ran out of cannabis supply.
While stores can order more stock from the AGLC, store owners are saying that there are no more products left on the commission’s website.
Former Toronto police chief Bill Blair, who has led the legalization drive of the government, told CBC that the country was unable to supply enough in order to meet demand.
Blair said that they expected certain strains to run out and for there to be a bit of a run on supply. But, according to him, they have got a “pretty good infrastructure in place” and he is confident that this will work.
Shortage is no surprise
According to Rolling Stone, the cannabis shortage in Canada is not a complete surprise. The magazine reported that retailers that started pre-ordering their initial pot supply in September found that not everything that was advertised by their suppliers was actually available.
Moreover, 9 News cited a University of Waterloo and CD Howe Institute study that found that licensed producers in the country would only be able to meet as much as 60 percent of the overall demand in the first year of legalization.
Medical cannabis has been legal in Canada since 2001, while recreational cannabis officially became legal on Oct. 17. Under the new federal law, Canadians can only be allowed to carry 30 grams of pot in public and each household is only be allowed to grow up to four cannabis plants.