Canada can’t keep up with demand for newly legal weed. Nearly a fortnight after the country put marijuana legalization into effect nationally, retail shops are nearly out of weed.
“It’s a mess. The supply is just a mess,” Patrick Wallace, owner of the Alberta shop Waldo’s 420 Store.
Canada’s Parliament voted to legalize marijuana in June, and that decision went into effect on Wednesday, with differing rules across Canada’s provinces. The newly legal industry is expected to be worth $6.5 billion in annual sales.
The problem started on the first day of legalization, when customers across Quebec, Saskatchewan, Canada’s Northwest Territories, Newfoundland, and online shops all had trouble securing legal weed. Within the first few days many of the legal stores were out of weed.
Stores selling marijuana are issued licenses to do so, but even those licensed shops haven’t been able to access enough supply when it’s time to reorder. Orders storeowners placed have in some cases only contained part of what was requested, and demand for that limited supply has far exceeded expectations.
“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 [Alberta Gaming, Liquor and Cannabis Commission] is working hard to remedy the problem.”
Some stores have closed up shop until the supply problem is fixed, posting “out of stock” signs.
Even in September, when early license holders were able to preorder the soon-to-be-legal product, supply was a problem. Wallace told CBC that of 300 advertised products, only 70 were available at the time. Shops just getting their licenses now are facing an even worse shortage.
“It’s day four of legalization … and nobody has all the answers right now,” said AGLC spokeswoman Heather Holmen.