By this time next year, when marijuana becomes legal in Canada, people looking to get high could be facing the oldest problem in business: not enough supply to meet demand.
The licensed marijuana producers in Canada who already grow weed for the medical marijuana market are trying to expand as quickly as possible to meet the increased demand of recreational pot legalization.
But they say they can only expand so quickly and new producers are not getting into the business fast enough.
A report last fall from Canaccord Genuity Group predicted the combined annual demand for recreational and medical marijuana would reach 575,000 kilograms by 2021. That’s a lot more than current producers are growing, says Greg Engel, chief executive officer of Organigram Holdings Inc.
He told CTV’s Your Morning that his Moncton-based company is one of a handful of big licensed marijuana producers in Canada, and while they are working hard to expand, there are limits to what they can do.
“Companies like Organigram are rapidly expanding our production but it’s difficult for us to anticipate that growth. We’re moving as quickly as we can to meet demand but we’re not quite there yet,” he said.
The medical marijuana market alone is already expanding quickly, in part because more insurance companies are starting to cover the drug, Engel says.
The number of Canadians registered to use medical marijuana soared to nearly 130,000 in March of this this year, according to Health Canada – double what it was a year ago. And that number continues to increase every month.
“We’re seeing month-over-month growth of about 10 per cent in terms of the patients who are accessing medical cannabis,” Engel said.