Sev­eral con­tracted cannabis sup­pli­ers un­able to de­liver on sup­ply prom­ise

The Province - - NEWS - SU­SAN LAZARUK slazaruk@post­media.com

Amid a na­tion­wide le­gal cannabis short­age, B.C. is look­ing for more cannabis sup­pli­ers as some with con­tracts to sup­ply the mon­thold le­gal mar­ket haven’t come through with the prod­uct they had promised.

Some pro­duc­ers, “in­clud­ing five of the largest pro­duc­ers, have been un­able to de­liver the vol­umes that they had orig­i­nally com­mit­ted to,” said Kate Bil­ney, B.C. Liquor Dis­tri­bu­tion Branch se­nior com­mu­ni­ca­tions of­fi­cer in an email.

But she said the B.C. LDB is “con­tin­u­ing to re­ceive in­ven- tory at its dis­tri­bu­tion cen­tre” and work­ing with li­censed pro­duc­ers to “reg­u­larly re­plen­ish stock” for its on­line store and its lone govern­ment store in Kam­loops.

Since le­gal­iza­tion Oct. 17, the le­gal mar­ket hasn’t been able to keep up with de­mand in other prov­inces.

In On­tario (where a store won’t open un­til at least April), the on­line store has been flooded with tens of thou­sands of or­ders. Man­i­toba stores ex­pect short­ages on­line and in per­son for as long as six months. Que­bec closed its govern­ment-run shops for three days late last month be­cause of a lack of pot and had plans to keep them shut Mon­days through Wed­nes­days un­til avail­abil­ity sta­bi­lizes. Short­ages shut stores in New Bruns­wick, too, and one shop in Labrador City went 10 days with­out any prod­uct.

“There are no plans to close the Kam­loops cannabis store due to a lack of prod­uct sup­ply,” said Bil­ney.

And the prov­ince is con­tin­u­ing to source out new sup­pli­ers and “will con­tinue to en­gage with ad­di­tional li­censed pro­duc­ers,” she said.

“The LDB is com­mit­ted to en­gag­ing with any li­censed pro­ducer of non-med­i­cal cannabis that is in­ter­ested in sup­ply­ing the B.C. mar­ket.”

The prov­ince is not pe­nal­iz­ing or drop­ping the sup­pli­ers who have not met their con­trac­tual obli­ga­tions, she said.

“Given the in­fant na­ture of the in­dus­try, the LDB has cho­sen not to ex­er­cise a non-com­pli­ance penalty at this time,” she said.

Asked if the govern­ment is cer­tain sup­pli­ers un­der con­tract to the le­gal mar­ket aren’t in­stead sup­ply­ing the il­le­gal or medic­i­nal re­tail­ers if they’re of­fered bet­ter profit mar­gins, she said, “The LDB is con­tin­u­ing to work closely with all li­censed pro­duc­ers as they work through the is­sues im­pact­ing their sup­ply.”

She said, “Sta­bi­liza­tion of this new in­dus­try won’t hap­pen overnight” but a tight sup­ply mar­ket would not af­fect the ap­proval of ad­di­tional le­gal pri­vate stores.

RICHARD LAM/PNG

The prov­ince is con­tin­u­ing to source new pot sup­pli­ers due to a lack of prod­uct sup­ply.

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