A ‘Major’ Weed Shortage Could Seriously Affect Canada’s Legal Marijuana Plans

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In the fervor to “legalize it,”marijuana advocates seem to have overlooked if they could actually supply it. It’s an ironic situation for Canada, who celebrated the legislation that would fully legalize marijuana by 2018 earlier this year but now one analyst said that rollout could be delayed.

Ontario’s Minister of Finance, Charles Sousa, said Canada’s demand for marijuana is already “quite high” (phrasing) and they want to make sure that when weed is totally legalized, there is enough of a supply so it curbs the organized crime that may end up controlling some of the buds.

According to Quartz, registered medical marijuana users have tripled since 2016 to an astonishing 167,000 patients, and now they’re bracing for a country full of people who may only dabble, but said dabbling could make the demand far outweigh the supply. Marginal Revolution‘s Alex Tabarrok said, “Much of the new demand will come from people who were deterred from buying illegally.”
Health Canada, the agency that approves marijuana licensing, has promised to speed up licensing so farmers can grow the plant before the dam breaks in 2018, but Cam Mingay, a senior partner at Cassels Brock, a corporate business law firm that’s kept a close eye on these green trends in the Great White North seemed exasperated. He told Bloomberg: “I don’t know what anyone can do about it — you can’t force the plants to grow faster. You could approve 50 more tomorrow, and realistically they could probably be in production by the end of 2018 in any meaningful capacity.”

Meanwhile, down south, U.S. Attorney General Jeff Session is trying to go after medical marijuana providers when a fantastic business opportunity awaits stateside growers. This is conjecture, but the U.S. could in theory help curb the supply issues Canada will soon run into, and make a good amount of cash for states (or even the Fed?) while they’re at it. Or, they could throw people in jail.

(Via Quartz/Bloomberg)