Article by Kristine Owram, Bloomberg News
The Canadian cannabis industry is still reeling from sky-high demand in the second week of legalization, with growers expressing frustration at the length of time it’s taking to get licensed as shelves sit empty.
“We’re biting our nails and I think our shareholders are biting their nails too,” said Anthony Durkacz, director at FSD Pharma Inc., an Ontario-based producer that received its cultivation licence a year ago and is still waiting for its sales licence. “We want to be supplying.”
The process of getting a sales licence from Health Canada is onerous, according to Durkacz. After receiving a cultivation license, a grower must produce two full crops, send them off for testing, get its sales software audited, and then submit a completed application for the sales licence, which can take up to 341 days to process, he said.
“So even after you’ve done everything and done everything right you could be waiting up to a year to get the licence,” he said.
While some growers wait for their licences, others are struggling to keep up with demand. The government-run Ontario Cannabis Store received 100,000 orders in its first 24 hours. In Quebec, online and in-store orders totalled nearly 140,000 in the first week of legalization, and the provincial-owned retailer indicated Wednesday it may have to close some locations as producers couldn’t meet demand. Producers will have a “colossal” amount of work to do to ensure supply, the Societe Quebecoise du Cannabis said in a statement.