Like many budding business owners in Alberta, Chris Zimmerman and his brother felt the exciting rush ahead of the historic legalization of cannabis on Oct. 17.
They jumped through all the regulatory hurdles in order to be licensed sellers of marijuana in time for the date — they built a steel back room and installed a high-tech security system, per regulations, then applied for a permit with the City of Edmonton to ensure they were the only cannabis store within 200 metres. Finally, they put up large, LED signs that read, “Glenora Cannabis,” in big, white lettering on their store in central Edmonton.
The store is ready to open any minute now, except for one final hurdle: Zimmerman and his brother have yet to receive a licence from the Alberta Gaming, Liquor and Cannabis Commission (AGLC) due to a crippling shortage of cannabis from suppliers. This shortage has forced even some larger, already-licensed businesses to shutter their doors several days a week as they wait for stock.
When the legalization of cannabis was announced nationwide, hundreds of people dashed to join the green rush in Alberta — one of the few provinces that allowed private retailers to cash in on the new business. But the bubble may now be bursting.
“I’m just personally very disappointed by the whole situation,” Zimmerman said. He said his family has invested around $200,000 in their Edmonton store. Zimmerman anticipated the shop would not be operational until mid- to late-November, but the latest estimates from the AGLC suggest that businesses waiting on a licence may have to hold out another six to 18 months.