A few weeks after the recreational use of cannabis became legal in Canada, retailers across the country began experiencing a shortage of marijuana.
On October 17th, the first day of cannabis legalization, Canadians flocked to both brick-and-mortar stores and online shops to legally purchase marijuana. Some even queued up for hours in lines that wrapped around sidewalks and streets. The demand for buds was so high that news reports started pouring in about some stores running out of stock.
Strong Demand, Short Supply
The Canadian government issued licenses to over a hundred stores nationwide so they could legally sell marijuana. Unfortunately, some licensed sellers weren’t able to access enough supply when they reordered.
Cannabis supply was also a problem even to some dispensaries that received early licenses in September. They were able to pre-order the soon-to-be-legal product, but weren’t able to get a hold of most of the advertised strains, reports CBC
Before the legalization of cannabis, though, cannabis shortage was already expected
. Prior to C-Day, the University of Waterloo and S.D. Howe Institute researchers reported that the supply of cannabis would only meet 30 to 60 percent of the country’s needs. They estimated that the demand would amount to 610,000 kilograms in the first year, but the supply would only reach 210,000 kilograms.
First-Day Cannabis Sales by Province
Cannabis shortage aside, the high demand means high sales and each province did well. Excluding Saskatchewan, New Brunswick, Nunavut, and Newfoundland & Labrador—they either haven’t released official figures yet or have no plans to do so—each province raked in tens, even hundreds, of thousands of Canadian dollars in sales.
Alberta’s dispensaries made $730,000 for 8,300 sales in its first day, and Nova Scotia fared as well with $660,000. In Manitoba, one retailer in a single location estimated their first day sales to have reached $325,000
from both in-store and online.
Though no official figures were released, licensed retailers from Ontario and the Northwest Territories sold 100,000 and 130,000 orders of cannabis respectively. In the latter, three out of five of its cannabis dispensaries are currently out of buds.
The Société québécoise du cannabis (SQDC) said they processed 42,000 orders of cannabis and pulled in $220,500 in sales. Meanwhile, Prince Edward Island made a total of $152,408 in sales after tax during its first day.
Finally, the provinces of Yukon and British Columbia made around $59,000 and $41,000 in their first day sales respectively.
Saved by the Black Market?
Canada’s black and grey market may be able to address the lack of supply in licensed cannabis dispensaries. Now that some retailers, both in-store and online, have either run low on supplies or emptied their stocks completely, legal cannabis may be hard to find. Canada’s underground cannabis market, though, can replenish the pot supply and make it affordable.
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