Article by Perrin Grauer, StarMetro Vancouver
The cannabis shortages currently plaguing many Canadian provinces are driven by regulatory and production missteps, both predictable and inevitable, according to industry insiders.
And despite some emerging clarity around how Canada wound up with empty shelves in the first weeks of legalization, shortages are unlikely to become a thing of the past quite yet, according to Khurram Malik, CEO of Canadian cannabis company Biome Grow Inc.
“There’s going to be a supply shortage on and off for over a year to come,” Malik told StarMetro in an interview. “This was very predictable. We did see it coming, but not to this extent.”
More than half of New Brunswick’s cannabis stores were closed this week due to product shortfalls, while Winnipeg-based Delta 9 Cannabis Inc. was down to dried buds at the end of October after finding itself unable to obtain a restock of cannabinoid capsules or oils. In British Columbia, meanwhile, the B.C. Liquor Distribution Board said in October that cannabis producers have yet to meet their total product commitments to the provincial government.
And these problems have been brewing for a long while, said Malik. This is due in part to the tough standards imposed by Health Canada on companies looking to break into the production market, he said.
Malik said he suspects many licensed producers (LPs) have stockpiled cannabis products just sitting in their vaults — enough, he suggested, to overcome the current early-days shortages impacting provincial markets. But getting that product out of the vaults and onto store shelves has likely been held up by red tape, he said, attributing such hiccups to the inevitable growing pains of a brand new sector.