A marijuana retailer in Newfoundland is summing up the sentiment three weeks after recreational cannabis became legal across Canada. "We need more weed!" Trevor Tobin tells the New York Times, adding suppliers don't have enough plants or packaging equipment to meet soaring demand. It's a problem next door in New Brunswick, where 10 of 20 legal stores were temporarily closed Monday due to supply issues. Quebec's 12 cannabis stores are now closed three days a week, while issues including a postal strike have delayed weed deliveries in Ontario, prompting some to return to illegal dealers. A Health Canada rep says issues are to be expected given "the launch of an entirely new regulated industry" with no dependable indicator of demand.
"It's hard to find know-how in an industry that was prohibited," adds Mandesh Dosanjh of British Columbia's Pure Sunfarms, who cites challenges like having to learn the art of growing cannabis at scale, fashion new supply chains, and accommodate Health Canada inspectors. Still, a rep for Quebec's cannabis agency understands the frustration among consumers. "Producers can add more people to try and meet demand, but that won't make the plants grow any faster," he says. Per the Toronto Star, industry insiders say a move toward automation may be necessary to speed up production in a cost-effective way, with shortages likely to continue until 2020. (Legal pot is coming to more US states.)