Just days after becoming the world’s largest nation to legalise marijuana, store owners across Canada say there is not enough weed to meet demand and they are struggling to order more.
Last week, hundreds lined the streets for hours to queue up and purchase weed at newly legal pot shops – at least 111 stores were expected to open across the nation, with many more to come.
The Alberta Gaming, Liquor and Cannabis Commission (AGLC) has granted 14 more retail cannabis store licences in the past week, bringing the province’s total to 31.
But that increase in shopfronts is already showing strain, with cannabis shortages being reported in a number of Canadian provinces.
“It’s a mess. The supply is just a mess,” Patrick Wallace, owner of the Alberta shop Waldo’s 420 Store, told Canadian broadcaster CBC.
This is que outside a cannabis store day one in Canada 🇨🇦 😳😳 pic.twitter.com/neQWLWaOcR
— 🇨🇦🇮🇳 Indo Canadian 🇨🇦🇮🇳 (@SANDHUHARKIRAT) October 18, 2018
Mr Wallace said he was concerned what would happen once an expected 250 stores licensed by the AGLC open in 2019.
“They should have worked on the supply before they legalised it. They needed a lot more supply,” he said.
A number of stores in Edmonton have closed their doors after running out of the drug.
Stores can order more cannabis stock from the AGLC, but store owners have said there is nothing left to order from the commission.
“We were on the website, but there is nothing on the website. There is no product,” Karen Barry of Calgary’s Beltline Cannabis told CBC.
“I’m sure the [AGLC] is working hard to remedy the problem.
“This is just a growing pain that we’re experiencing in the whole industry.”
The AGLC said it would do its best to prepare to meet demand, but there had been nationwide supply issues beyond its control.
“It’s day four of legalisation … and nobody has all the answers right now,” AGLC spokeswoman Heather Holmen told CBC.
Bill Blair, who led the Canadian government’s legalisation program, told CBC that Canada was currently unable to meet demand for cannabis.
“We expected … certain strains might run out and there would be a bit of a run on supply,” he said.
“But they’ve got a pretty good infrastructure in place and I’m confident it will work.”
Canada’s legalisation of marijuana sparked festivities throughout the country, with legislators intending to pardon everyone with convictions for possessing up to 30 grams of the drug.
Medical marijuana has been legal in Canada since 2001.
Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s government has spent the past two years working towards legalising recreational cannabis to better reflect society’s changing opinion about the drug.