October 17, 2018 1:02 pm

Legalization day hiccups: Shortages, tech issues as Canadians buy marijuana

WATCH ABOVE: Newfoundland makes history with first sale of legal recreational marijuana in Canada


Marijuana is now legal in Canada — but the switchover didn’t come without a few hiccups.

Some Canadians hoping to be among the first to buy legal marijuana were warned of shortages. Many purchasing cannabis products online faced technical issues, while some buying at stores lined up for hours.

Story continues below

MORE: Sign up for Cannabis IQ, a weekly newsletter covering legalization

Customers looking to buy pot online at one retailer in Winnipeg, Delta 9, were out of luck as the products completely sold out early in the morning.

The store’s communications director, Gary Symons, said they had 100 orders in the first minute of legalization. They sold $50,000 worth of product in the first hour.

READ MORE: Pot store in Winnipeg already sold out online – but more to come today

Symons added the store would have products back online by around 8:30 a.m. local time.

Meanwhile, Delta 9’s delivery service, Pineapple Express, was experiencing delays of several hours.

Things are tricky in Saskatchewan, too, where there are a handful of marijuana retailers but none in Regina or Saskatoon.

WATCH: Opening day for majority of marijuana stores in Saskatchewan will be delayed

One Saskatoon-based retailer, Living Skies Cannabis, said it is ready to open — but can’t get its hands on enough marijuana supply.

“There simply really isn’t a lot of supply. So the people that do have supply right now in the country. It’s all sort of spoken for across the entire country,” said the owner of the company, Cierra Sieben-Chuback.

READ MORE: Saskatchewan cannabis retailers grapple with supply shortages

British Columbia’s government launched its online store just after midnight Wednesday, with several strains such as Mango Kush and Campfire sold out before daybreak.

B.C. also has only one provincially licensed retailer open in Kamloops, which is selling 75 strains.

READ MORE: B.C. government launches online cannabis sales with some strains already sold out

Over in Alberta, albertacannabis.org, the province’s website for online sales, proved so popular early Wednesday that the site wouldn’t load properly.

At 12:07 a.m. local time, the Alberta Liquor and Gaming Commission tweeted: “You like us! Our website is experiencing some heavy traffic. We are working hard to get it up and running.”

At its peak, albertacannabis.org saw more than 11,000 people waiting to make online purchases.

In Ontario, the government’s website OCS.ca — the only way to buy cannabis legally in Ontario until physical stores open in April next year — was functioning as planned.

WATCH: Marijuana stores in Alberta prepared for first day of legal pot

But the number of dried cannabis products listed online had shrunk by Wednesday morning.

Things also ran relatively smoothly in New Brunswick, with Cannabis NB receiving 208 orders by 12:48 a.m.

But not all planned products were available. Cannabis NB noted some of its suppliers have experienced logistical issues, meaning “some planned products have been delayed beyond [Oct. 17].”

MORE: For the launch of our weekly newsletter Cannabis IQ, we’re giving away $100 Visa gift cards. Click here to find out more.

— With files from Global News, The Canadian Press

© 2018 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.

Report an error


Want to discuss? Please read our Commenting Policy first.