Canada is Running Out of Marijuana as Sales Smash All Expectations

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marijuana, canada, legalisation, weed
One of the lucky Canadians who managed to buy marijuana on the first day of legalization at a cannabis store in Quebec City, Quebec. Credit: AFP

After just two days Canada has already started running out of marijuana with police being called to help at some stores. There were long queues and reports of shortages across different parts of the country with many being unable to buy cannabis.

After waiting seven hours in line at a store in downtown Montreal on Wednesday, Alexandre, 30, said he was turned away at closing at 9 pm. Police stepped in to disperse the crowd, without incident.

“It was hell, it was cold,” Alexandre said. “But we had fun anyway, talking with people in the crowd and sharing joints.”

Others were shocked at the relatively high prices, ranging from Can$5.25 (US$4.02) in Quebec to Can$18.99 in Saskatchewan per gram, compared to the black market that saw average prices plunge in the last year to Can$6.79 per gram.

marijuana, canada, legalisation, weed
Smokers in Toronto celebrate legalization. Credit: Getty Images

In Ontario, Canada’s most populated province, 38,000 orders for weed worth about Can$750,000 were processed in the first few hours Wednesday (total figures for the day were not yet available), while in neighboring Quebec 42,000 orders were processed in-store and online, smashing all expectations.

“This volume of orders far exceeds the forecasts of the SQDC,” the Quebec government pot retailer said.

The statement added that short-term supply shortages are expected due to “the craze surrounding legalization of cannabis and the scarcity of product across Canada.” Canada’s smallest provinces on the Atlantic coast, Nova Scotia and Prince Edward Island, posted Can$660,000 and Can$152,000 in sales, respectively. Supply shortages were already reported in the provinces of Newfoundland and Saskatchewan, as well as in the Arctic territory of Nunavut. Several online retailers including the Ontario government’s pot portal warned customers to expect shipping delays of up to five days as they worked late into the night filling orders.

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A man exits a Cannabis Yukon retail store with his purchase while others wait their turn on October 17, 2018. Credit: Reuters

In total, Statistics Canada says 5.4 million Canadians will buy cannabis from legal dispensaries in 2018 — about 15 percent of the population. Around 4.9 million already smoke.

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