Experts say Canada’s legal cannabis shortages may last years

Bethan Rose Jenkins, Cannabis News Writer/Editorial

Four months following the legalization of recreational cannabis in Canada stores are running dry of their supplies.

According to an industry expert, Canada’s weed supply shortage could last for as long as five years. This is not good, considering Congress is edging closer to federal legalization in the U.S. Should the plant become legalized at the federal level, the U.S. could severely outpace its northern neighbor in terms of market growth; particularly with Canada’s cannabis supply shortage issues.

During an interview with CTV News, CEO of RavenQuest Biomed George Robinson said that he would not be surprised if demand is still not met within five years.

“We’re absolutely not getting anywhere close to the (needed) supply,” said Robinson.

So bad have the shortages been in some places that stores have had to shut up shop, including stores in Quebec that have had to limit retail operations to three days per week.

Job losses are occurring as a consequence of Canada’s cannabis shortage supply

New Brunswick’s provincial retailer has been forced to lay off 60 workers. With 25 brick-and-mortar stores set to launch in Ontario on April 1, the problem could be further amplified if nothing is done to combat the issue.

A private retail store owner named Thomas Clarke struggled with lack of cannabis shop supplies for a fortnight. His store, based in Portugal Cove, N.L., was lucky enough to receive an emergency shipment valued at $15,000. However, the supply lasted just a few days.

“They say ‘Haha, you don’t got any cannabis in your store, you’re only making seven-and-a-half percent (profit) … our business on the black market is thriving and we’re making 100 percent’,” Clarke said to CTV in regards to illicit dealers, who are benefiting from Canada’s cannabis supply shortage.

It’s ironic, considering the fact that Canada’s Liberal government has advocated recreational cannabis legalization as a means of eradicating the black market. Nevertheless, with proper planning and positivity, the Great White North’s cannabis supply shortage could be dealt with sooner, rather than later.

Bill Blair, the Minister of Border Security and Organized Crime Reduction, maintains confidence that the shortage problems will soon be overcome.

“Many jurisdictions have made real progress,” he said. “Some clearly have a little more work to do.”

For the time being, Canada’s legal cannabis market is acting as somewhat of a testing ground for 420 entrepreneurs, investors and traders in the U.S. and beyond, who wait patiently to determine how Canada overcomes its cannabis supply issues.