The shortage of legal pot is over
The supply of cannabis available at the retail level now exceeds demand, according to federal stats and at least two Alberta-based retail marijuana chains.
In October, when recreational pot became legal, many stores quickly ran out of product, and the province temporarily stopped granting new licences because of a shortage of federally-approved marijuana.
Numbers from Health Canada show there was 6,346 kilograms of cannabis sold in stores in October, and only 6,171 kilograms available at the retail level at the end of the month, meaning demand exceeded supply.
Inventory levels have crept up every month since then, at production facilities, provincial distribution centres and at retail stores.
The biggest jump was in May. The stats show 22,166 kilograms of pot available in stores at the end of the month, and 9,495 kilograms in total sales for that month.
“We definitely rode it out,” Fire & Flower C.O.O Mike Vioncek told CTV News Edmonton. “Now, we're seeing a very consistent and building supply.”
With inventory now at healthier levels, more stores are opening. In Edmonton, 44 stores are now either open or slated to open soon. Across Alberta, 277 have either opened or have AGLC licences to open.
“Until we were a little more confident supply was there and would stay, we didn’t build,” said James Burns, the CEO of Alcanna, which owns the Nova cannabis chain. “But we’ve been building now since June, when supply has started to come and be reliable.”
Officials with both, Fire & Flower and Alcanna expect that trend to continue, and actually pick up steam in the coming months.
Fire & Flower expects to have 24 stores open across Alberta by the one-year anniversary of legal recreational pot (Oct. 17). Alcanna anticipates 20 locations open by that date.
“I think in Alberta, we'll just keep chugging along unitl they tell us to stop,” said Vioncek.
Both chains are planning to eventually open 37 stores, or 15 per cent of total stores in Alberta, which has been set as the maximum share by any single person or company.