Tuesday, November 20, 2018

Canada's cannabis regulations lead to shortages

Expect no quick end to Canada-wide cannabis shortages, producers warn | CTV News - Aly Thomson, Canadian Press:

November 14, 2018 - "The supply shortages that have plagued many provinces in the first month of legal cannabis will likely persist for years, industry insiders say.

"Provinces including British Columbia, Alberta, Manitoba, Saskatchewan, Quebec, Nova Scotia and New Brunswick have all reported varying degrees of shortages. New Brunswick was forced to temporarily close more than half its stores, while the Quebec Cannabis Corporation has reduced its store opening hours to four days a week. Labrador's only legal cannabis store said it was forced to temporarily close after being without any product for nearly two weeks.

"Khurram Malik, CEO of the Toronto-based cannabis company Biome Grow Inc., said the lack of supply is due in part to the tough regulations imposed by Health Canada on the country's 132 licensed producers, and the time required by companies to develop a quality and compliant product. He said the federal department also took too long to approve licences....

"'The rules here are so difficult to grow cannabis -- quite frankly more difficult than anywhere else in the world -- that if you're a new licence holder and you've never done this before, it's going to take you a year, year-and-a-half, or two years to get any decent, consistent quality product out the door in any predictable volumes,' said Malik, adding it's much easier and cheaper to grow in jurisdictions such as California....

"Malik said he suspects some companies did stockpile cannabis leading up to Oct. 17, but logistics such as packaging and shipping have held up distribution as producers navigate the red tape of a brand new sector....

"Health Canada said it has taken steps to improve the licensing and capacity of producers.... The department declined a request for an interview. But a statement from spokeswoman Tammy Jarbeau acknowledged that product shortages would likely continue 'in the months ahead'....

"Brenda and Trevor Tobin, the mother-and-son owners of Labrador City's High North, said ... [t]he shop sold all of its cannabis in the first three hours on legalization day, and in the weeks following, products dried up for almost two weeks.... Brenda Tobin said ... that has prompted some of her customers to buy cannabis illegally."

"'A lot of them have said, "Well I guess it's back to the black market",' said Tobin. 'We hate to hear that, but I'm assuming if they want their product, they're going to get it one way or the other.'"

Read more: https://www.ctvnews.ca/canada/expect-no-quick-end-to-canada-wide-cannabis-shortages-producers-warn-1.4177015
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