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October 17, 2018, marked a historic day for cannabis, federal legalization in Canada. What followed soon after was more than upsetting not only for customers but for the entrepreneurs trying to get a piece of the action. Alberta has halted issuing any new retail cannabis licenses.

The Current State Of Cannabis

It only took one month and 5 days for the AGLC (Alberta Gaming & Liquor Commission) to indefinitely stop approving new cannabis retail stores due to national supply shortages. The initial order of cannabis placed by the AGLC was supposed to supply 250 stores in Alberta for 6 months. By November 22, only 20% of what they had requested had been fulfilled prompting the halt on retail licenses.

It was not only Alberta affected by supply shortages, but every other province in the country also.

Right now, there are currently over 700 applications waiting to be approved from about 430 different applicants. Today, there are currently 65 stores open that are still dealing with drastic supply issues. Of these 65 stores, 14 of them are NewLeaf Cannabis which is owned by National Access Cannabis Corp.

Alberta Halts Issuing Retail Cannabis Licensing Due To Product Shortage
Sunset over the Glenmore Reservoir in Calgary, Alberta

On day one of legalization only 15 licensed producers had agreements to sell cannabis in Alberta. Very few met there stated quota, the rest failed miserably leaving rushed legislation to blame.

Falling Short On Supply

“The legalization of recreational cannabis came through in full force quicker than most legislation does; With that in mind, plants don’t grow overnight.” said AGLC representative Heather Holmen.

Most of the scarce inventory that is present is being directed to private retail stores. However, some stock is being kept to sell directly to the consumer through AGLC cannabis purchasing website AlbertaCannabis.org. This is in an effort to allow access to cannabis for people located in remote locations or without access to a cannabis store.

The unfortunate reality is that there was a lot of great hope for cannabis legalization. Yet, here we are, writing about entrepreneurs who invested their savings into brick and mortar stores, hired staff, and were promised licenses only to have their dreams quashed by supply shortages. 

Alberta Halts Issuing Retail Cannabis Licensing Due To Product Shortage
Cannabis Retail stores closed for business because of supply shortages

“The legalization of recreational cannabis came through in full force quicker than most legislation does; with that in mind, plants don’t grow overnight.”

Heather Holmen – AGLC

The licensing freeze will last until the AGLC sees a reliable, long term supply of cannabis become available, Holmen said. The AGLC is not accepting any new cannabis retail applications for the foreseeable future either.

If you have applied for a license, AGLC has offered the option of withdrawing your application and having your fees refunded.

To check out the currently licensed stores in Alberta click here.

There is not a single store open today in Alberta, part of Canadas largest and most densely populated province (Ontario). If you are an Ontarian and want legal cannabis you better order it from the government by visiting the Ontario Cannabis Store at OCS.ca

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