Alberta Dispensaries Losing Out on Green Thanks to Cannabis Shortages

Written by: Celia Carr – 420 Intel

A cannabis shortage has led to a rocky start for Alberta dispensaries that are having to close their doors while they wait to restock.

Alternative Greens, a dispensary in north Edmonton told The Star that they’ve had to close twice since legalization simply because they do not have enough product and cannot get their orders in soon enough.

“If the door’s closed, we’re losing money, especially is people are showing up, try the door and it’s locked,” Roseanne Dampier, Manager of Alternative Greens, told The Star. She said if demand stays consistent with the way it is now, they will likely have to close the store again soon. “If we place an order today, we might maybe see it next week,” Dampier said.

“So if we start running low before we get that order in, we might have to close for a few days.”

Daniel Nguyen, manager of Numo Cannabis in Alberta, said that they are facing similar obstacles and that they have had to close a few times since their opening day.

“We were out, now we’re fully restocked and should be open for the rest of the weekend … I don’t think anyone could have known how much of a massive demand there was,” said Nguyen.

The Alberta Gaming, Liquor and Cannabis Commission (AGLC)  places much of the blame on licensed producers who aren’t able to keep up with the high demand in the province.

“We continue to get shipments, but it’s not at the agreed upon levels … from Day 1, they’ve been low on the shipping,” said AGLC spokesperson Kaleigh Miller. “This is kind of the first hurdle we’ve faces that we really have no control over.”

Miller also said that the last time she checked, the online store only had about nine of 115 products available left for purchase. “We’re definitely on the lower end, but it’s fluctuating,” she said.

There are currently 132 licensed producers across the country with only nine in Alberta. Tammy Jarbeau, a Health Canada spokesperson said in an emailed statement that LPs had reportedly shipped more than 14,500 kilograms of dried cannabis and 370 liters of oil to retailers by the end of September. There was apparently still 90,000 kilograms of dried product and 41,000 liters of oil.

“Health Canada remains confident that there is sufficient supply of cannabis overall to meet market demand now and into the future.”

The government does acknowledge that there has been mass shortages across the country. “This was expected and will likely continue in the month ahead,” reads the statement.