Original cannabis journalism for Canadians

Legal weed shortage becomes a blame game

These legal cannabis buds are a hot commodity in Canada right now. (Tijana Martin / The Canadian Press) (CP)

These legal cannabis buds are a hot commodity in Canada right now. (Tijana Martin / The Canadian Press)

Canada's supply of legal cannabis continues to fall short of demand, at least in some places.

That's annoying to non-medical users, who can't find what they want in stores. In Quebec, the provincial cannabis retailer will now only be open four days a week due to supply shortages. In Ontario, even if shoppers find what they want on the Ontario Cannabis Store website, they'll face a heck of a wait to actually receive it by mail.

The situation is much worse for medical cannabis users, many of whom are finding that their medicine is simply unavailable from companies that are now catering to both recreational and medical consumers.

Inevitably, all those grumpy customers have legal cannabis producers and sellers pointing the finger elsewhere. Who's to blame?

The federal government, according to one mucky-muck at a licensed cannabis producer that's allowed to grow, but not yet allowed to sell. Anthony Durkacz of FSD Pharma told Bloomberg News that Health Canada's lengthy licensing process is the key reason for the weed shortage.

Durkacz's statement implies we'd all be backstroking Scrooge McDuck-style through swimming pools brimming with legal weed right now, if only Ottawa bureaucrats would speed things up.

On the other end of the blame spectrum, an Ontario government minister is blaming dastardly crooks for the Ontario Cannabis Store's (literal) failure to deliver.

"The criminals lied to us," declared Ontario Finance Minister Vic Fedeli on Thursday.

Fedeli explained his logic to reporters: OCS sales projections were based on "illegal data, illegal information from illegal sales," he said. Since that delinquent data was faulty, there's simply no way the provincial cannabis retailer could ever have anticipated that demand would be as high as it is.

Let's put this all into context: Everyone who's been paying attention to cannabis legalization in Canada has known for some time now that the early supply of legal weed would never meet initial demand, at least not for all product types. Various economist types predicted this, and the media reported on it, so no one should be surprised.

Recreational cannabis legalization in Canada is still an itty-bitty baby, just 10 days young. It can't even pull itself up to a sitting position, much less crawl or toddle. Getting that bouncing baby bud to the point where it can walk unassisted will take months, maybe even years.

We could extend this metaphor to all the way to toilet training, but you get the point. 

In the meantime, some corporations and politicians facing angry customers and constituents will continue to blame conveniently faceless targets like "too much regulation" and "criminals".

Just take those claims with a grain of salt (and perhaps a grain of weed, if you can find somewhere to buy it).


New on The Leaf

  • Cannabis packaging includes plenty of info about what's inside, how strong it is and who made it. (Justin Tang / The Canadian Press files) (CP)

    Cannabis packaging includes plenty of info about what's inside, how strong it is and who made it. (Justin Tang / The Canadian Press files)

    Gotta read the label: There's a lot of information packed into the labels on legal cannabis packaging. Thankfully, The Leaf News is here to help you read between the lines.
  • Post-legalization Herbstravaganza: Your favourite cannabis advice columnist catches up on myriad questions from Canadians.
  • When in doubt, blame the OCS: What effect will the Ontario Cannabis Store's growing pains have on Ontario's illicit cannabis market?

Elsewhere on the Weed Wide Web

  • The Ontario Cannabis Store is being called a bad dealer by customers unhappy with its service. (Sean Kilpatrick / The Canadian Press) (CP)

    The Ontario Cannabis Store is being called a bad dealer by customers unhappy with its service. (Sean Kilpatrick / The Canadian Press)

    Low marks for OCS service: The Ontario Cannabis Store might not be picking up the phone to listen to customers complain, but CBC News is.
  • Upcycling: A Halifax initiative thinks leftover plastic from legal cannabis containers could be processed into new artificial limbs.
  • Slow start on the Left Coast: Initial legal cannabis sales in British Columbia lagged behind other provinces.

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