Cannabis retailers warn of supply shortage

Frederick Owens
October 19, 2018

The legalization era of cannabis in Canada has begun, making this country the second in the world - and the first G7 nation - to legalize cannabis.

Canadians will be allowed to buy dried cannabis, oils and seeds.

Genevieve had bought weed with a low level of THC, the psychoactive agent in cannabis, referring to it as "the bomb" before returning with friends on Thursday to buy more.

"Marijuana is illegal federally in the United States so the use, sale, production, distribution could render someone inadmissible to the United States based on an assessment of the totality of the facts of the case presented to the officer", he said.

The legislation, which was passed in the Canadian Senate in June, was part of a 2015 campaign promise by Prime Minister Justin Trudeau.

Christopher Perry with the U.S. Customs and Border Protection Agency told reporters in Detroit Wednesday that U.S. officials don't anticipate asking Canadians crossing into the U.S. routine questions about their pot use. Sales are forecast to spur an additional $1.1 billion in economic growth resulting in a $400 million tax windfall for the government.

The home page for the Ontario Cannabis Store is shown in this photo illustration Toronto Wednesday October 17, 2018. However, its medical use has been recognised and legalised since 2001.

However, many provincial governments' approval of only a small number of shops so far, and a shortage of weed supplied to these stores, means most Canadians' first toke on Wednesday will likely be of black-market pot. Canadian provinces have been preparing for months to handle the aftereffects of legalisation.

The province has also launched a public awareness campaign created to educate people on the dangers of using pot and road safety.

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However, the market is still in its nascent stage with analysts predicting a shortage of supply in the first year of legalisation.

Quebec's government-owned Societe quebecoise du cannabis (SQDC) said it processed 12,500 purchases in its 12 brick-and-mortar stores and 30,000 online transactions.

The step will alter the country's social and cultural fabric in a big way while presenting a crucial public policy challenge in front of the government.

Smoking or vaping cannabis is also prohibited and carrying cannabis across Canada's borders will remain a serious criminal offence, even for medical reasons.

But, apparently many still have concerns such as police readiness and their capacity to deal with driving violations committed under the drug effect.

One of the first cannabis offences just an hour into legalization day was a now-viral mistake behind the wheel in Manitoba.

"I came out tonight to be the first person in Canada to purchase the first legal gram of recreational cannabis, to help see the end of prohibition in Canada finally", Power said.

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