From the first day of legal recreational cannabis in Canada, there have been long lineups outside weed stores as well as supply shortages in some parts across the country. Most consumers were excited about the end of the restrictive laws on recreational marijuana, but a few were disappointed that they were unable to purchase pot on the first day.
Besides, other users balked at the considerably high prices, which ranged from US$ 4.02 (Can$5.25) in Quebec to US$ 14.54 (Can$18.99) in Saskatchewan per gram as compared to the average prices of cannabis in the black market last year that plunged to Can$ 6.79 per gram.
Alexandre, 30 shares his frustrations of being turned away at closing at 9 pm (0100 GMT) on Wednesday after spending seven hours on the queue at a cannabis store in downtown Montreal. Police had to step in and disperse the crowd but without any incident.
“It was hell, it was cold, but we had fun talking with other people in the sharing joints and the crowd,” Alexandre said.
However, he went back to try again on the following day morning.
According to him, the first day of the end of the prohibition was the day that everyone was waiting for, but he expressed optimism that the queue would decrease little by little.
One of the lucky consumers to succeed in getting inside the store is Genevieve Despres, age 41. According to her, the scene in line on Wednesday was super friendly as they sang, laughed and made new friends.
“Usually, I am not a smoker, but since this was a historic day for the country I decided I would try,” She told AFB.
She bought and smoked pot with a low level of the psychoactive agent in marijuana (THC) before she went and returned with her friends on Thursday to purchase more.
“My God it is the bomb!” She said.
In the first few hours on Wednesday, 38, 000 orders for pot worth about Can$750, 000 were processed in Ontario (total figures for the day not yet available), which is the most populated province in Canada. The figures were even higher in the neighboring Quebec where about 42, 000 orders were processed both online and in-store, smashing all expectations.
The Quebec government cannabis retailer stated, “The volume of orders has surpassed the predictions of the SQDC.”
It also said, “It is hard to predict the volume of sales due to the lack of data from the industry that was still illegal 48 hours.”
Besides, the statement also pointed out that they expected short-term supply shortages due to the scarcity of the product across Canada and the craze surrounding legalization of recreational cannabis.”
The smallest provinces in Canada, Prince Edward, and Nova Scotia Island on the Atlantic coast posted Can$152,000 and Can$660,000, respectively.
In addition, there were reports of supply shortages already in some provinces, including Saskatchewan, Newfoundland and the Arctic territory of Nunavut. Consumers have been warned by a number of online retailers including the Ontario government through its pot portal to expect shipping delays. The statement said that they should expect delays of up to five days as they worked late into the night filling orders.
Unfortunately, Canada Post workers have announced that intend to hold rotating strikes in Toronto and most of 905-region starting from Tuesday, October 23, after a long period of contract talks stalled. This could further delay deliveries of pot orders made online.
On Wednesday, Canada became the second country across the globe and the first major economy to legalize the use of recreational marijuana and venture into the controversial experiment of the substance in drug policy. In defense of the latest development (fulfillment of his 2015 campaign promise), the Canadian Prime Minister, Justin Trudeau has stated that the legalization is intended to eliminate drug dealers and protect young people.
However, there has been pushback from opposition Tories and some doctors.
Statistics show that 5.4 million Canadians will purchase marijuana from legal dispensaries in 2018 alone, which is around 15 percent of the total population. Currently, about 4.9 million Canadians already smoke.
The former Toronto police chief, Bill Blair who is the point man for cannabis legalization spoke to public broadcaster CBC and said, “We expect, you know that there might be supply shortages for certain strains and there would be a little of a run on supply.”
“However, you know, they have already set a good infrastructure, and I believe it will work, said Blair.
Canada weed stores run out of supplies as prohibition ends: https://www.news.com.au/finance/business/retail/canada-weed-stores-run-out-of-supplies-as-prohibition-ends/news-story/e7cf7834ad041f52ef61227a7da8725a
Canada ‘weed’ stores out of supplies, more lineups: https://www.standardmedia.co.ke/article/2001299631/canada-weed-stores-run-out-of-supplies-more-lineups
Medical marijuana system will continue after legalization, says Health Canada: https://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/calgary/health-canada-medical-marijuana-continue-1.4820377
Canada bhang stores run out of supplies, more line-ups: https://mobile.nation.co.ke/news/world/Canada-bhang-stores-run-out-of-supplies/3126396-4812622-mb28w1/index.html
Legalizing Recreational Marijuana, Canada Begins a National Experiment: https://www.nytimes.com/2018/10/17/world/canada/marijuana-pot-cannabis-legalization.html