For many Canadians, legalization has been a bit anti-climactic.
Excited folks who stayed up to legally buy weed online in the wee hours of Oct. 17th, were either hitting reload in the hopes that crashed sites would start working again, or waiting around for their credit cards to process.
And some of those who didn’t wait up late to seize their chance just after midnight found supplies had dwindled.
One Saskatoon-based retailer, Living Skies Cannabis, said it’s ready to open — but can’t get its hands on enough marijuana supply. “There simply really isn’t a lot of supply,” said the owner of the company, Cierra Sieben-Chuback. “It’s all sort of spoken for across the entire country.”
Global News talked to a retailer in Moose Jaw who couldn’t open due to a lack of supply, and another in Yorkton who quickly ran out on legalization day.
In Winnipeg, private retailer Delta 9 was sold out online by 4 a.m. on Oct. 17, but had a little bit of dried flower back in stock by late Friday. By 4 p.m. on Wednesday, more than half of the strains of cannabis flower (56 out of 98 listed) on the publicly-run B.C. website were listed as sold out.
There are two main problems. The first is that legal production capacity has yet to scale up to meet demand, which itself has several causes, the federal government’s slow pace in approving growers among them. There have also been weird glitches. The Financial Post reported federal excise stamps, required to be affixed to cannabis to show that taxes were paid, were shipped without glue, which delayed shipments.
The other problem is that in some provinces, warehouses seem behind in the exercise of getting product off a shelf and onto a truck. While Premier Doug Ford told the Ontario legislature Wednesday morning that the OCS site had received over 38,000 orders overnight, a spokesperson wouldn’t disclose how many had actually been shipped.
And a final barrier that would be a bummer for those who managed to order and are waiting on packages: a possible Canada Post strike is interfering with delivery plans.
Leafly’s countdown party in Toronto was one of many celebrations across the country celebrating the legalization cannabis across Canada. Chris Young/The Canadian Press
Why is the government holding back legalization of edible THC products until next year? Smoking marijuana has been linked to chronic respiratory problems and it’s also more difficult to control dosage as opposed to edibles. Why not legalize all marijuana products at the same time, including high-quality edibles?
Edibles — cannabis-infused food products like peanut butter, candy, and the classic brownie — got blamed for overconsumption in some U.S. states like Colorado. People either made the classic mistake of not waiting to feel its effects, which can take as long as two hours, and ate more, or just misunderstood the intended dose.
The other issue is that children have been known to eat carelessly stored edibles. There have been a handful of recent cases in Canada — a two-year-old on Vancouver Island and a four-year-old in Nova Scotia were hospitalized this year after eating candy-form edibles.
For better or worse, Canadian governments seem to have taken the approach that it’s easier to start off with strict rules and relax them than to start off with loose rules and make them stricter. Rules for food-form edibles are promised by October of 2019. Gel caps containing cannabis oil are being sold, and while they’re not as fun to ingest as the high-end chocolate edibles sold in California, they do have the same effect. But if brownies are your thing, while you can’t buy them, you can still make your own.
© 2018 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.