Canada became the second nation in the world to legalize cannabis this week and it’s now plainly apparent that consumers’ appetite for legal cannabis is already outpacing the actual supply.
According to the CBC, both brick-and-mortar, government-run retail storefronts and the online marketplaces hosted by Canada’s licensed cannabis producers felt the strain of high consumer traffic starting Wednesday, aka Legalization Day.
Officials in Manitoba, Canada announced there was “substantially less cannabis than originally requested” and said that consumers should expect product shortages which might last for months.
In British Columbia, there is just one licensed retail storefront, though there still exist some technically illegal dispensaries who have nonetheless operated fairly openly and unhindered for years.
In Ontario, Canada’s most populous province, there are currently zero physical storefronts and the Ontario Cannabis Store, a government-run online marketplace, is currently the only option for buying legal cannabis.
While the shortages were expected, they still symbolize the ever-growing enthusiasm for cannabis and will send a message to the world that progressive cannabis reforms are a popular and potentially lucrative undertaking. And, since legalization took effect, it has emboldened Canada’s cannabis community.
Canadian MP Nathaniel Erskine-Smith told CBC News in a televised interview that he is a cannabis consumer.
“Just as someone might have a glass of wine or a scotch on a Friday night, I would turn to my vaporizer. … Five years from now, no one will be interested in this question because we’ll all recognize we’re responsible adults, and this is far less harmful than alcohol, far less harmful than tobacco. And we should use it responsibly, yes, because there are potential harms.” — Canadian MP Nathaniel Erskine-Smith, in an interview with CBC News
Cannabis is legal for adults 18 and older (or 19 and older in certain provinces) throughout all of Canada. Currently, only cannabis buds and concentrates are legally available, but framework establishing regulations for cannabis edibles, beverages, and other infused products are expected.