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High demand continues at Edmonton pot shops 4 days after cannabis legalization

The line at Nova Cannabis in south Edmonton on Saturday, Oct. 20, 2018.
The line at Nova Cannabis in south Edmonton on Saturday, Oct. 20, 2018. Global News

It’s been four days since recreational cannabis became legal in Canada and lineups were still long outside licensed retail outlets in Edmonton — at least the ones that still have product left.

Dozens of people were lined up outside Nova Cannabis in south Edmonton on Saturday morning.

READ MORE: Edmonton marijuana enthusiasts line up at cannabis stores on legalization day

The CEO of Alcanna, the parent company of Nova, said demand has been very steady since Wednesday.

“Pretty well non-stop from 10 a.m. until 10 p.m., which are the hours we’ve chosen to open. Full tilt,” James Burns said.

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READ MORE: How much weed was sold on Canada’s legalization day, province-by-province

In Alberta, private retailers can sell cannabis in person and the Alberta Gaming and Liquor Commission (AGLC) is selling it online.

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Prices range from $9.24-$15.42 per gram, but pot is also sold at $49.99 per 3.5 grams. You can get a pre-rolled cigarette for $6.64.

WATCH: Becoming a cannabis sommelier

Becoming a cannabis sommelier
Becoming a cannabis sommelier

The AGLC said it made nearly $730,000 in sales on Oct. 17, the day cannabis was legalized. As of 3:30 p.m. that day, the province recorded around 8,300 sales.

Alcanna, which also owns several liquor chains, is familiar with the ordering process. Burns said that industry experience helped prepare for cannabis legalization.

“We have supply chain experts in our office so we ordered a very, very large amount when we were allowed to place our first order 10 days ago,” Burns said.

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READ MORE: Here’s how much cannabis costs across Canada

“We felt we’ll probably be OK for the weekend. We’re certainly fine for now. There are certain strains that are sold out but there’s product in the vault. We anticipate we’ll be OK until we get our next delivery.”

The line at Nova Cannabis in south Edmonton on Saturday, Oct. 20, 2018.
The line at Nova Cannabis in south Edmonton on Saturday, Oct. 20, 2018. Global News

Some Calgary stores expect to run out of product before the next orders arrive.

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READ MORE: Cannabis supply going fast in Calgary, may not last until next order: ‘It’s going to be pretty close’

Several Edmonton stores were running low as early as Thursday.

On Saturday, a north Edmonton store, Alternative Greens, was completely sold out. There were signs advising customers staff would be restocking product soon. The owners told Global News they’ve been sold out since Friday at 1 p.m.

READ MORE: Edmonton cannabis stores start to run low on legal weed

Burns said Nova expected big demand but the extent has surprised him.

“I’m not so sure I would have thought there’d be lineups 12 hours all day long for even the weekdays,” he said.

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“We knew the opening day and the weekend would be busy — didn’t quite expect Thursday and Friday to be that busy — but it’s been very steady. It’s amazing.”

Q&A: What Alberta consumers need to know about shopping for legal cannabis

Burns said the company is expanding quickly.

“We’ve got 37 stores leased and being built right now — which is the maximum we’re allowed by the rule for year one. We’ll probably have another five or six in the next few weeks and then … sometime in March we’ll have our 37, quite a few more here in Edmonton, another half a dozen at least.”

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