Cannabis Retailer Watches 24/7 To Scoop Up Scarce Canadian Supply

Article by Kristine OwramBloomberg News

Pot retailer watches 24/7 to scoop up scarce Canadian supply Kristine Owram, Bloomberg News Boxes of pre-rolled joints sit stacked at a Quebec Cannabis Society (SQDC) store during a media preview event in Montreal, Quebec, Canada, on Tuesday, Oct. 16, 2018. The SQDC will have twelve stores open in Montreal, as cannabis becomes legal in Canada on October 17. , Bloomberg

Desperate times call for desperate measures in Canada’s supply-constrained pot industry.

National Access Cannabis Corp., the country’s largest private marijuana retailer with 17 stores, has a team of five people watching 24/7 for new inventory from Alberta’s provincial regulator, which controls wholesale pot distribution.

“At 3:30 in the morning all of a sudden $4,000 worth of inventory is made available yet in seven minutes it’s drawn down, meaning that other big competitors are doing the same thing,” Mark Goliger, chief executive officer of Ottawa-based NAC, said in a phone interview Friday.

It’s evidence of the severity of the supply shortages that have plagued Canadian cannabis retailers since legalization on Oct. 17. Quebec’s government-controlled retailer has restricted its operating hours to four days a week, while Alberta has temporarily halted the issuance of new retail licenses due to lack of product.

This will affect NAC’s plans to have 50 stores open nationally by the end of the year and may result in “cash flow constraints” depending how long the ban lasts, Goliger said. NAC, which operates the Meta and NewLeaf banners, has 13 stores in Alberta and was aiming for 25 by the first quarter of 2019.

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