Is Canada seeing a cannabis shortage? News coverage of empty shelves in newly opened Canadian dispensaries and long lines certainly point to high demand and perhaps a low supply of marijuana across the country. And while it’s pretty sensational to say that Canada is running out of cannabis, is that necessarily the truth?
Here’s what we know about the current Canadian cannabis supply and what Canadian cannabis companies are doing.
Is There a Cannabis Shortage in Canada?
Unfortunately, the stories regarding a cannabis shortage are true. Retail outlets and customers alike have detailed the dwindling supply in shops. Some blame producers, who they believe underestimated the demand for cannabis. Others highlight the bureaucracy surrounding the sale of legal cannabis. Ultimately, legal adult-use cannabis is a whole new industry and there are several reasons as to why supply has not kept up with the demand.
Producers Expect Shortages to Continue
At the current rate of production and with current demand, it is likely that shortages will continue. Producers are working hard to ensure their plants meet Health Canada’s regulations, however, for some, it has proven difficult. This has resulted in having to scrap plants, reducing the available supply of quality cannabis.
Thankfully, that’s not the end of the story. Canadian cannabis companies are committed to meeting the demand and increasing the supply or available cannabis products. Producers are working within their organization to better manage their operations and increase their output. Part of this includes creating processes to ensure that Health Canada’s regulations are met. However, cultivation isn’t something that can just be increased overnight. It takes time to grow, cure, test, package, and ship cannabis.
So, aside from scaling growing operations, what can be done to increase the cannabis supply in Canada? It appears that Health Canada needs to issues more sales licenses to producers as well. The organization is currently working hard to get licenses into the hands of producers, which will definitely increase the supply. Health Canada can also make sure that high-quality imported cannabis and cannabis derivatives are available to those currently licensed to sell cannabis to patients.
What Can Consumers Expect?
While some experts believe that the cannabis shortage may actually help the black market that legalization was intended to thwart, it’s important to note that there are major differences between black market marijuana and cannabis grown and distributed by licensed companies. One of the main issues is one of quality control. Black market marijuana isn’t regulated in any way. Consumers will not be able to ascertain, for example, the percentage of THC or CBD they can expect from a random baggie. However, cannabis purchased from a reputable dispensary has a clear chain of custody and has been tested to ensure not just safety but also quality.
While cannabis has become more popular thanks to legalization, remember that the sale of legal cannabis began only months after the Cannabis Act was approved. Producers certainly tried to plan for what they perceived the demand would be, however, because of the limited time between the signing and legalization, it’s no surprise that they were unable to meet the demand of an excited public.
As producers and provinces refine their mechanisms for getting cannabis products onto shelves, consumers can expect to find quality products restocked. Initially, this process will be slower, however, once organizations scale, they will be better able to meet the demand of cannabis consumers.
Canadian cannabis companies are at the forefront of an entirely new industry. It’s only natural that there have been hiccups early on with legalization. The true test will be how they respond.
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