Will B.C.'s legal marijuana supply run dry?
British Columbia's government found itself having to address concerns over potential shortages in its marijuana supply Thursday, two weeks before recreational use of the drug is even legalized.
There have been reports that some growers are struggling to meet targets, leading advocates of the illegal pot industry to sound the alarm about possible supply issues.
"The legal, licensed producers of medical cannabis have signed up to supply recreational, but they don't have enough supply for patients or recreational users," cannabis activist Jodie Emery told CTV News Tuesday.
But the province, which is in charge of distribution, insists there will be plenty of pot come legalization day on Oct. 17.
"We will have the widest variety of strains and varieties in the country in British Columbia," Public Safety Minister and Solicitor General Mike Farnworth said.
Industry expert Jay Rosenthal agrees there will be enough supply at first, but says would-be cannabis consumers might be in for another surprise in terms of what they can buy.
"In California and Colorado on day one, there were edibles and drinks and vape pens. That's absolutely not going to be the case in Canada come Oct. 17," Rosenthal, who runs Business of Cannabis in Toronto, told CTV. "It may take another year to see those product varieties."
Farnworth admitted this week that some strains will be in limited supply and could even run out.
"It's like anything. If a particular wine from a small winery in the Okanagan proves to be popular, it can sell out very fast. Likewise, we may see the same thing with cannabis," he said.
The only way to legally get your hands on recreational pot on the first day of legalization will be to visit the government-run store in Kamloops or the government website.
The initial lack of options has prompted calls to legalize the many dispensaries that are already up and running in the province. Otherwise, those businesses are expected to continue operating outside the law.
"B.C.'s cannabis industry is bigger than fishing and forestry combined," Emery said. "B.C. bud is world-famous. We have enough supply to meet demand. They just need to legalize it."
Under the current plan, a full retail store system with public and private shops could take years to actually realize.
With files from CTV Vancouver's Bhinder Sajan