The lines started at 9 a.m. on Saturday morning at both Calgary’s cannabis stores. By the time the doors opened at 10 a.m. at Four20 Premium Market and Nova Cannabis, around 100 people were in line at each outlet.
“Pretty shocked that it would still be here on day four,” said Dale Belcher, who was waiting in line at Nova Cannabis.marijuana legalization
“Maybe it’s because there’s not enough stores open in the city yet.”
On Friday, the doors at Four20 Premium Market were shut four hours early because of noise concerns from neighbours. The store had been open until 2 a.m. since opening day on Wednesday.
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“On the police side, there haven’t been any complaints or issues,” said Ryan Kaye, Four20 Premium Market vice-president of operations. “There were some concerns from a few neighbours about the noise level after 10 p.m. so we decided to temporarily go from 10 a.m. to 10 p.m.
“We will be closing at 10 p.m. for now and it’s just to be a good community partner until these lineups die down.”
Management at Four20 predicted that Saturday had the potential to be a big sales day because of people coming in from out of town. There are no cannabis stores in rural southern Alberta except in Medicine Hat.
The city of Calgary is hoping to speed up the appeals process for new pot shops but staff at Four20 Premium Market are not laying the blame on the Alberta Gaming and Liquor Commission or the city for the lack of stores now open in Calgary.
“You don’t have a multi-billion-dollar industry spring up overnight. It’s just not a realistic expectation,” Kaye said. “We just need a little more time to get more stores open.”
As for the dwindling supply, that is being dealt with on a day-to-day basis.
“We might make it to our next order or we might be a day short,”he said. “It’s really hard to say right now. It’s going to be pretty close.”
Stores can only place orders once a week through the AGLC.
At least two Edmonton area outlets have already run out of product. Nova Cannabis, which operates in both Calgary and Edmonton, predicts it will have enough product because of the large order it put in the first opportunity it had with AGLC.
“For cannabis you have to pay cash and we can’t do it on credit so you have to have money in the bank to do it,” explained James Burns, CEO of Alcanna, the parent company of Nova.
“But we have a large company and were able to purchase, so we placed as big of an order as they let us.”
Meanwhile, stores that haven’t been able to open yet say a lack of supply is part of the problem.
A shortage of stock on the AGLC’s retailer website has created a bumpy road for yet-to-be-open stores like Beltline Cannabis Calgary.
Founder Karen Barry said on Saturday that it’s been a “fatiguing process.”
Barry says staff at AGLC contacted her on Saturday to let her know she could now make an order. She said that she wasn’t able to on Friday because of lack of supply on the AGLC retailer website.
“I got a call Saturday at noon from the AGLC saying: ‘We should have some product there,’ that as soon as that product comes in, it’s being processed and put up on their website for retailers to access. What that means for us, we’re not quite sure and we are checking by the hour,” said Barry.
“Demand has been huge,” Barry said, “but AGLC has been nimble about it.”
Barry said she has all her staffing and licensing in place and hopes to have her store open by Nov. 1.