Marijuana Shortage in Newfoundland One Day After Legalization

It didn’t take long for some licensed cannabis retailers in Newfoundland and Labrador to run out of product.

On the first day of legalization across Canada on Oct. 17, Thomas H. Clarke predicted his store in Portugal Cove, Newfoundland would run out of product by Friday. He ended up running out on Wednesday afternoon, the very same day cannabis was legalized.

Newfoundland and Labrador is Canada’s easternmost province, with its own time zone a half-hour ahead of mainland Canada. It was the first province to open for business as 12:01 a.m. struck on Oct. 17, heralding the beginning of legal cannabis in Canada.

After opening up as one of the first stores to sell cannabis legally, Clarke’s THC Distribution ran out of product just after 4 p.m. on Oct. 17. “It’s very bad news in my eyes. I ran out at 4:20 today, believe it or not,” Clarke told CBC News.

“I’m a little shocked that I sold out so fast, and also very upset that I don’t have product for everybody. I’m letting down a lot of people here and I was assured that if I paid for the cannabis I would receive it.”

Clarke said he only received $10,000 worth of a $70,000 order from his supplier, adding he doesn’t know why his order was short, why there is a delay or how long it’ll take to get restocked. He gets his cannabis from suppliers such as Canopy Growth.

“I pray that something gets shipped to me overnight so I’ll have some product for tomorrow,” he told CBC. “If I don’t get any product I’m going to keep the shop closed and spend a couple of days with my family.”

Something Stinks

The Newfoundland and Labrador Liquor Corporation (NLC), the corporation responsible for cannabis regulation, told CBC that the issue goes beyond available product.

Evidently Health Canada declared one supplier’s crop unfit, and has yet to approve another supplier’s packaging for product that is otherwise ready to ship. Cannabis producers are doing their best to keep up with demand, but they can’t make marijuana plants grow any faster, an NLC spokesperson said.

But the Tweed cannabis store on Water Street in downtown St. John’s, Newfoundland, which is owned by Canopy Growth, confirmed to the CBC that they are doing fine with their cannabis supply, and are still welcoming shoppers to the store.

Tweed opened its doors to much fanfare as the “first” store to make a legal cannabis sale at 12:01 on Oct. 17, and Canopy Growth CEO Bruce Linton was on hand to pose with the first customers to buy legal weed under the new Canadian law.

Meanwhile, across the island, stores like Clarke’s are having to shut down while they await the next shipment of cannabis from suppliers like Canopy.

Is Canopy Growth employing anti-competitive business practices in Newfoundland? High Times is following the situation closely. Stay tuned for updates on legal cannabis from “The Rock.”

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