EDMONTON — Alberta's cannabis Crown corporation has stopped issuing any new pot retail licences after only receiving 20 per cent of the stock it ordered amid a Canada-wide supply shortage.
The Alberta Gaming, Liquor and Cannabis Commission had ordered enough cannabis product to stock up to 250 recreational pot shops for the first six months of legalization.
"While some licensed producers have fulfilled their commitments, not all have," said AGLC president and chief executive Alain Maisonneuve in a statement on Wednesday.
"We continue to work with them to fill stock. Unfortunately, regardless of our efforts, we are seeing the supply of most products run out."
The commission has also contacted all cannabis growers with federal licences to sell cannabis but has had "no success" due to the shortage, he added.
Since Canada legalized cannabis for recreational use on Oct. 17, several provincial government entities tasked with the sale and distribution of pot have said they are receiving less product than expected and warned that shortages could last for months. Late last month, Quebec's cannabis Crown corporation slashed its operating hours due to scarce pot products.
Canada's cannabis shortage has been an issue since it was first legalized. Story continues below:
Licensed producer Canopy Growth Corp. said last week it remained "on track to meet all commitments on an annualized basis" and it was working with all its provincial and territorial partners to address supply shortages. Aurora Cannabis Inc. said last week it was able to meet "just about all" of its supply obligations leading up to and after legalization day. The Edmonton-based pot producer said it was ramping up production in the coming quarters, but expected consumer appetite to outstrip supply for "some time."
B.C.-based cannabis producer Tilray Inc. said last week it has explored buying wholesale to bridge the supply gap, but there was "far less" pot available than expected.
The lingering supply shortage has prompted the AGLC to stop accepting new applications for cannabis retail licences until further notice as well.
Applicants already in the queue will receive a full refund of all fees if they want to withdraw their requests, Maisonneuve said.
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Alberta's priority is on stocking private retailers so they will get the majority of "our scarce inventory," he added.
"We will still maintain some online product to allow consumers in communities where there are not any retail stores to purchase online... I thank everyone for their continued patience while we work through the national shortage of legal cannabis."
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