Canada’s recreational marijuana industry may be facing the challenge of a marijuana shortage even though its planned start date for legalization isn’t till July 1, 2018. Ontario is where the biggest problem appears to be. Charles Sousa says a shortage was discussed in a recent meeting.
An industry analyst says that Canada could use the potential shortage to delay the roll-out of the recreational marijuana program, according to Bloomberg. When recreational marijuana is becomes legal in Canada, its provinces have to adopt their own regulations for sales and distribution. Mail-order marijuana will be accessible.
Sousa said, “Ultimately the biggest problem that appears after today’s discussion is one of supply. So we want to make certain that when we do proceed, there is sufficient supply to accommodate the activity because what we’re trying to do is curb the illicit use and organized crime that now exists around it.”
Shortages may become apparent for the country’s medical marijuana patients as well. Patient lists are becoming longer, so when a producer runs out of a strain or takes on more medical marijuana patients, it creates less supply.
Some, like Jason Zandberg, speculate that initial recreational marijuana sales will have to be done online and via mail since stocking enough supply for the demand in government dispensaries may not be possible.
Zandberg said, “There will be a shortage initially. My concerns are that if that is used as an excuse to push the date of recreational legalization back, there’s a danger that it slips into the next election cycle and doesn’t actually happen.”
On March 31, Canada had 167,754 registered medical marijuana patients, and they’re already experiencing some supply issues.
To help productivity and prevent continued shortages, Health Canada has pledged to speed up its approval process for growers.
Cam Mingay of Cassels Brock said, “I don’t’ know what anyone can do about it – you can’t force the plants to grow faster. You could approve 50 more tomorrow, and realistically they could probably be in production by the end of 2018 in any meaningful capacity.”
The rushing to approve licenses may still not make enough product available for the demand. Some provinces, as far as creating regulations are concerned, are further ahead than others, which is also a factor.