Cannabis store in Newfoundland closes, blames lack of supply

Marijuana plants are shown at a cultivation facility in Olds, Alta., Wednesday, Oct. 10, 2018. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jeff McIntosh

A privately-owned cannabis store in Newfoundland is closing, and the manager says supply issues are largely to blame.

Puff Puff Pass Headshop in Clarenville, N.L., is the province’s first private weed store casualty since recreational marijuana was legalized in October.

It is one of just six private, regulated cannabis retailers in Newfoundland and Labrador, and will shut its doors for good on Thursday.

Business manager Tina Greening says retailers in Newfoundland and Labrador are only allowed to purchase from seven licensed producers, picked by the province’s liquor commission.

She said the suppliers provided stores with a “small list” of what they were allowed to order, and even dictated quantities.

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The owners of other private, regulated stores in the province have raised similar concerns about supply, and some shops have run out of product routinely.

(Perhaps adding to the problems, Puff Puff Pass Headshop was one of two cannabis stores in Clarenville, which has a population of only 6,200 people.)

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Retail cannabis stores across Canada have had trouble keeping their shelves stocked — stores have closed for lack of product to sell in New Brunswick, Quebec and Saskatchewan.

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Meanwhile in Alberta, where the province’s retail network is expanding, store owners are doubtful that enough supply exists to support it.

In a series of tweets on Wednesday, however, federal cabinet minister Bill Blair said that “there remains sufficient supply to meet and exceed existing demand.”

“While some provinces are making considerable progress in offering adults a safer alternative to the illegal market, others still have much work to do to establish their wholesale and retail distribution systems and better protect Canadians.”

— With files from Global News

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