'It's A Big Pothole': Why Canada Is Running Out Of Weed

One month on from making it legal, Canada's recreational marijuana supply is dwindling.

Despite all the initial hype following the legislative change, businesses and consumers have been left frustrated as suppliers scramble to deal with a deepening weed shortage.

Reports of insufficient supply began lighting up within weeks following the October 17 legalisation, and it seems the problem is getting worse.

There's been noticeable drops in the stock market, administrative problems and backlog of licences to sell marijuana. And now there are concerns this is driving people back into a the black market.

The situation as forced some store owners to close their doors.

Source: Getty Image

READ MORE: Canada Just Legalised Recreational Marijuana

Trevor Tobin, one of the owners of the Labrador City shop in Newfoundland and Labrador, told CBS their store went 10 straight days without supply.

"The producers keep saying there will be some bumps in the road, but right now it's not a bump in the road," he said.

"It's a big pothole."

Trevor's mother mother, Brenda Tobin, is a part-owner and told CBS a lot of disappointed customers have said they would be going back to the black market.

Last month Canada became the first industrialised nation to legalise recreational cannabis use, following an election promise made by Prime Minister Justin Trudeau.

The first week of legalised sales saw huge lines forming outside new stores with eager consumer keen to buy it, presumably guilt and crime free.

The  hype even saw a group of 24 become Canada's first students to get formal credentials in growing pot.

Source: Reuters

Demand continued to increase weeks on, and it's understood that while it's now more expensive to purchase the drug, the quality of the product has improved.

Why Are There So many Issues With Supply?

Licensing appears to be a significant part of the problem with only 78 of the 132 marijuana producers approved by Health Canada actually having licences, according to CBS.

FSD Pharma, an Ontario-based producer, reportedly received a cultivation license a year ago but is still waiting for a sales license.

"There's a lot of red tape," Dr. Raza Bokhari, co-chairman and interim chief executive of FSD Pharma told CBS.

"Some of the obstacles are unnecessary. It's quite burdensome."

The government is implementing steps to increase the licensing process, with 300 additional staff hired at Health Canada to review production applications, according to U.S. media.

Health Canada, which grants licenses to cannabis producers, says it worked hard in the months prior to legalisation to increase the number of legal suppliers, and is urging patience.

It added that it "expects licensed sellers to take reasonable steps to ensure that registered patients continue to have access to the products they need for medical purposes".

People line up outside a cannabis store to purchase products for the first time in Montreal, Canada. (Photo: MARTIN OUELLET-DIOTTE/AFP/Getty Images)

READ MORE: Can We Legalise Marijuana So I Don't Become Another Opioid Statistic, Please?

The economic fallout from the marijuana-drought is also having an effect beyond local store supply, with a drop already felt in Canada's stock market.

National producers Canopy Growth have so far experienced a nine percent drop in shares, reporting a bigger-than-expected quarterly loss earlier this week, according to Reuters.

What becomes of Canada's pot problem remains to be seen, but it certainly hasn't drawn its last puff.

With CBS. Featured Image: Getty

Contact the author: vgerova@networkten.com.au