Initial Supply Shortage
Last October, mere days following Quebec opened its initial chain of dispensaries, the government-run shops were overwhelmed with demand as they quickly ran out product.
For the near future, that is how it will stay, according to the SQDC.
“Supply is still a challenge,” explained SQDC spokesperson Fabrice Giguère. “We’ll only have the ability to open seven days per week when our distribution can justify this. At this time it can’t.”
Meanwhile, Canada’s biggest growers are ramping up manufacturing and radically increasing their Quebec-bound shipments. Between October and December, Canopy Growth found a 66-per-cent leap in the total amount of cannabis it sent to Quebec.
“We’re only producing at a small portion of our total footprint since the (national ) licensing process has taken so long.”Canopy owns 5.6 million square feet of production space across the nation — making it the largest grower in Canada. But half of that space has yet to create one bud. “The licensing has been so recent that many of our first harvests aren’t finished yet,” Sinclair said.
The surge of new applications combined is creating a bottleneck in the system, according to three industry insiders. Two decades back, there have been 38 licensed cannabis manufacturers across Canada. In the event of Aurora Cannabis — yet another significant provider — it increased its Quebec imports by 30 percent between November and December. The following month, the organization’s Aurora Sky centre in Edmonton will be fully operational and ready to grow upward of 100,000 kilos of marijuana every year.
“We value the clients’ demands and we’re continuing to ramp up production,” said Heather MacGregor, the director of communications at Aurora Cannabis. “We’re dedicated to creating top quality cannabis.”
With need for cannabis still large, some customers are turning into unregulated dispensaries on Indigenous land.
Additionally, there are unregulated dispensaries in Kahawake and about the Kitigan Zibi territory north of Gatineau.
A guard checks customers’ identification on the way in and lets them browse through dried flowers, oils and edibles.
Sources who work together with the dispensaries say they mostly get their product from unlicensed producers in western Canada — many of whom are Indigenous — and provide is never a problem.
The item is not inspected by national regulators, but some undergo a quality-control process in Ontario’s Alderville First Nation, in which the buds are inspected for contaminants.
“We do have some clients from Quebec who keep coming back because they weren’t able to get what they were looking for in the (SQDC),” said Jordan Brant, who works at Legacy 420. The dispensary, one of dozens on the Tyendinaga Mohawk territory in Ontario, has its product inspected by 2 bio-chemists working on site. Brant says legalization hasn’t negatively affected supply or demand for the merchandise at Legacy 420.
“People are aware that the outfits on the (Mohawk) reservation aren’t legal in the view of Canada, but they don’t care,” Brant said. “prices, lack of taxation, no waiting instances are some of the advantages we have.
“There’s a particular setting, some advice and experience that we provide I don’t think you become in the (regulated market).”
For the licensed producers, Quebec’s supply crunch has provided a learning opportunity about what clients need. Sinclair states, 15 months before, Canopy produced a couple of thousands cannabis pills every week.
Post legalization, their popularity has grown so fast Canopy can currently manufacture over 50 million pills per year.