October 11, 2018 5:00 am
Updated: October 12, 2018 9:03 am

Manitoba may experience pot shortage when legalization happens, say experts

Pot experts are concerned about supply and demand with legalization around the corner.

Darryl Dyck/The Canadian Press
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Just one week away from legal pot, some in the cannabis industry are concerned about supply and demand once Oct. 17 rolls around.

A spokesperson for Manitoba Liquor and Lotteries told 680 CJOB Wednesday the crown corporation is expecting it will receive less product than they asked for on legalization day.

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As we get closer to legalization, there are still a number of issues,” said Susan Harrison, communications officer with Mantioba Liquor & Lotteries.

Those issues include product availability, product delivery and inspection schedules,

“Timelines are very tight and we are working in a brand new industry without set standards relating to transportation, logistics, and inventory management. This  is making it challenging for both distributors and retailers alike.”

It’s a concern shared by an executive at Cannabis Compliance, Inc., an Ontario-based cannabis consulting firm.

“What we’re seeing across the country, clearly, is licensed producers saying they will have supply issues,” said Deepak Anand, Cannabis Compliance spokesperson.

“They may not be able to commit to the entire supply that provinces like Manitoba and others have asked or requested from them via purchase orders.”

Cannabis consultant Deepak Anand.

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Anand, a former director of the Canadian National Medical Marijuana Association, told 680 CJOB provinces that were quick out of the gate when it came to developing a retail strategy for legal pot have an advantage when it comes to meeting the demand.

“Provinces that got an early lead signed some pretty attractive purchase orders, and I think you’ll see those provinces get a significant amount of supply,” said Anand, citing New Brunswick as an example, “whereas we saw Manitoba and some other provinces come a bit late out of the gate and set up supply agreements.”

Currently, medicinal marijuana users receive their pot via mail order, but Anand says there’s a potential they could be caught up in supply issues once legalization occurs, due to the more lucrative retail/recreational market taking priority with many licensed producers.

“We may indeed see some medicinal cannabis users potentially take a backseat post-legalization, which is quite concerning,” he said.

Health Canada, however, has given some advantages to licensed producers who are focused on medicinal customers, via rebates to licensing fees if they’re not supplying a recreational product.

WATCH: Pot retailers announce stores in Manitoba, including cannabis ‘superstore’ in St. Vital

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