Some Alberta cannabis stores are expressing supply concerns after the provincial regulator announced plans to issue 10 new retail licences.
The Alberta Gaming, Liquor and Cannabis Commission (AGLC) announced the additional licences on Friday, which would bring the total number of cannabis stores in the province to 75. The AGLC cited “some improvement” in the national cannabis shortage, which has restricted retailers’ access to inventory.
“After seeing a modest improvement in supply over the last few weeks, we are confident the inventory can accommodate an additional 10 retail locations,” AGLC president and CEO Alain Maisonneuve said in a statement.
“AGLC continues to work with our licensed producers and current retailers towards solutions that will support a sustainable marketplace.”
Some cannabis stores, however, reported shrinking order sizes in recent weeks, raising questions as to whether the available inventory justifies the new licences.
Nicole Felgate, who owns Small Town Buds in Devon, Alta., said orders are currently no more than half the size they were in December. Despite her diminishing supply, she told Global News many customers are travelling to her store from Edmonton, where inventories are even worse.
“They either only have oils and capsules or they don’t have enough dried cannabis so there’s not enough for people to buy,” Felgate said. “Everybody’s just kind of rotating, going to different stores — who has product, who doesn’t have product.”
The owner of Alternative Greens in north Edmonton, Trevor Miller, told Global News his orders have continued to shrink since the AGLC stopped issuing new licences on Nov. 21, 2018.
“They are creating a worse problem again,” he said in a text on Friday, noting that his last order was four times smaller than in November.
The first 10 applicants that met all conditions after the decision was made to stop issuing new licences will now receive a licence, the AGLC said.
Despite modest improvement in supply levels, the commission said it isn’t stable enough to fully open the licensing process or accept new applicants.
The AGLC is working to sign an additional 12 licensed suppliers from across Canada to increase its supply.