When there’s talk of Canada’s recreational cannabis industry, expect the word “shortage” to come up. That’s because as soon as Canada officially opened its cannabis retail market, it became clear that supply was going to be an issue.
Whether the Canadian government and cannabis producers and retailers were ill-prepared, or they did not expect the huge swarm of customers the moment stores opened their doors, it’s up to the experts to know. Meanwhile, the rest of the world is looking and waiting to know whether Canada’s framework has failed.
The other question everybody is asking is this: How is Canada dealing with their supply problem?
Growers turn to trading and gifting
According to The Star, with no cannabis products in the stores and without being able to buy seeds, consumers are trying to find creative ways to grow their own plants.
The Canadian government made it legal for residents to grow four cannabis plants per household, but there is currently no place for them to buy seeds legally.
Darryl Kolewaski, who is a homegrower with a medical license in Spruce Grove, west of Edmonton, said that hundreds of people approach him and ask for seeds. According to him, these people are frustrated about not seeing seeds in stores.
Kolewaski stated that under the Cannabis Act, he is allowed to give plants as gifts, so this is what he does when he has the capacity to do so. He explained that he couldn’t just hand out stuff; he needs to plan for it.
The Cannabis Act states that any adult can share up to 30 grams of dried cannabis or its equivalent with other adults.
Most of the time, Kolewaski said he usually points people to seed banks in Europe that are reputable. Technically, though, it is illegal for Canadians to grow seeds at home if these seeds were obtained from another country.
Meanwhile, Tom Neumann, who owns a medical grow-op in Ardrossan east of Edmonton, will be launching a website called “Home Grown Connect,” which will give pot users a place to access cannabis seeds, clones, and other products, through gifting or trading. The site’s users will pay a fee to join the community, but will not pay anything for the product itself.
Shortages fuel the black market
In its report, Guelph Mercury Tribune noted that recent polls found that 35 percent of users continue to use their pre-legalization sources.
It pointed out that while the Canadian government expects the elimination process for these illegal sources to take some time, the black market is anticipated to flourish due to the extensive cannabis shortages.
According to Guelph Mercury, provinces like British Columbia, Quebec, New Brunswick, and Alberta have started shutting down legal cannabis stores as a result of deficient distribution. This move can lead consumers back to the black market.
In order for the government to succeed in its goal to curtail the black market, they have to address the shortage problem first. A failure to overturn this will increase illegal market activity.