Only a week ago, Canada celebrated and rang in its legalization of marijuana. Rolling papers had Bill C-45 printed on them. Dispensaries opened doors in Newfoundland, Ontario, Alberta– and essentially every province. Even the first indigenous-owned and run medical marijuana dispensary has been licensed and set to open. People in Canada and elsewhere logged in to social media, tweeting and creating memes to both applaud and criticize the country’s new system. And though legalization still stands as a serious achievement for Canada, it certainly isn’t perfect. In fact, the glaring issues continue to pile up. And most frustrating, the country now copes with shortages in supply while the demand continues to increase.
For some provinces, like Quebec, they have found a temporary solution to this issue. Rather than keeping doors open with empty shelves, dispensaries in Quebec will close three days a week.
Putting into effect this major national law deserves praise. But many Canadians aren’t singing the same sweet tune they sang while pushing for this law. Since October 17, Canadians all over the nation have taken on the surprisingly complex task of learning where they can actually get weed. When they can actually buy some, they find it excessively wrapped or even incorrectly weighed.
Of course, all of these laws vary from province to province. And even when the law allows a citizen to buy weed, that person still has to worry themselves with Canada’s current cannabis climate. Unfortunately, the country can’t keep up with the demand.
These chronic shortages have arrived inconveniently, when Canada had forecasted their financial future positively after legalization. In fact, they estimated nearly $1 billion in legal cannabis sales 3 months before. But with customers leaving dispensaries empty-handed and without the weed high they hope for, Canada’s black market remains a real probability.
Though other provinces have noticed these national shortages, dispensaries in Quebec may handle the issue differently. As of Monday, the Société québécoise du cannabis (SQDC) outlets in the province will be closed three days a week. On Monday, Tuesday, and Wednesday customers will not be able to buy anything from dispensaries. All 12 shops in the province will see these scheduling changes, and customers should stay aware.
After the “availability of products is stabilized,” these shortened hours may expand again. But citizens of Quebec shouldn’t bank on it. These store closures do not guarantee that future shortages will not happen. The supply of marijuana relies on the country’s producers and suppliers, and every province has complained of similar stock shortages. In the meantime, these stores assure more efficient customer service while they are open. Plus, customers can still navigate online to make purchases. Still, even online, it is often the same story: out of stock.
Quebec has now established a pattern of doing things a little differently than the other provinces. Recently, they have come forward with their plans to raise the legal age of consumption to 21. Their response to these shortages is also different. So far, Quebec is the only province to shut down dispensaries to combat the issue of shortages. These choices may have an impact on the future of Canada, and not only for weed. As Canada perfects its system, it may be able to expand beyond marijuana. They may even be able to explore making other psychedelic therapies legal.
And for the US, these national shortages in Canada should also serve as an example for the future of pot in the states. As states with recently legal medical marijuana see shortages, Canada’s reactions to these problems may serve as a useful example to Americans sooner rather than later.
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