We wrote earlier that cannabis shortages were registered across Canada from the time recreational cannabis became legal in the country. Those shortages seem to be getting worse with Quebec announcing that its government-controlled retail stores would close for three days each week for an unforeseen duration until marijuana supplies can be obtained in the quantities which can satisfy the currently high demand.
The SDQC, the government agency charged with trading in cannabis within the province of Quebec, announced that its stores would be closed every Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday.
These closures would help the stores to serve their customers better on the days when the stores are open. However, the closures don’t mean that customers are guaranteed that they will always find what they want on the days when the cannabis retail stores are open.
Online sales haven’t been affected by the store closures, but many online outlets list several products as out of stock.
Cannabis producers and suppliers seem to hold the key to ending the shortages by availing cannabis products in the amounts ordered by the different stores in the province.
Interestingly, Quebec has several licensed cannabis producers, such as Aurora Cannabis. The company said that they were doing everything possible to meet the existing demand for cannabis, but they can’t force the cannabis plants to grow faster than they do.
Such a statement seems to be a worrying pointer to customers that they may have to wait for a long time before cannabis supplies stabilize and stores open on a daily basis.
Industry players suggest that such supply hiccups are inevitable each time a new industry is opened since no one can predict accurately how the market will respond. For the case of recreational cannabis, the market seems to have been yearning for the product in a way that not even the greatest optimists among the producers could have ever imagined.
Francois Legault, Quebec’s Premier, expressed surprise that there were shortages and hurried to add that it wasn’t his government that designed the distribution system. He was also concerned about the effect of marijuana on young people and vowed to do what he can to raise the minimum age at which one can legally consume recreational cannabis in the province to 21.
With legal weed so hard to get, it will not be surprising when the people resort to the black market to get high. Such an eventuality can have undesired outcomes, such as exposing users to untested products which can be harmful in the short or long-term. The government also loses tax revenue each time a person buys a joint from the unregulated (black) market. Choom Holdings Inc. (CSE: CHOO) (OTCQB: CHOOF), Canopy Rivers, Inc. (TSX.V: RIV) and other players hope that the shortages can end quickly before public interest in marijuana wanes.
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