With about eight months left until Canada’s non-medical marijuana markets debuts, the question of whether our licensed cannabis producers are ready is one of the most significant problems hanging over the July 1 deadline. Inventories of dried marijuana and cannabis oil rose April through June, but even if producers keep up that pace, demand is expected to outpace supply once recreational cannabis goes legit. All they can do now is shore up inventories further in anticipation of what looks like an inevitable supply shortage.
Here are the four things we expect you’ll want to know right now.
1) Q: Who’s in charge of growing Canada’s recreational marijuana?
A: Existing medical cannabis producers are currently the sole providers of recreational cannabis. There are 69 licensed medical marijuana producers and only those authorized by Health Canada to produce and/or sell dry marijuana flower, fresh marijuana, cannabis oil, or clones for private growing to eligible citizens.
2) Q: How much weed do we need to grow to avoid a shortage?
A: Canada’s licensed producers currently grow about 60,000-120,000 kilograms (132,000-264,000 pounds) of cannabis per year, but Canada’s Parliamentary Budget Office estimates that Canadians will consume between 378,000 and 1.1 million kilograms of legal cannabis next year. That’s about a 258,000-890,000 kilogram weed chasm that licensed producers are going to try to close.
3) Q: What’s the plan, Stan?
A: Licensed producers are working as hard as an Olympic host city to build new facilities and blow production to maximum capacity. Canopy Growth—Canada’s largest licensed medical marijuana producer—is going to break ground on a 1.3-million-square-foot marijuana greenhouse in British Columbia, while Alberta-based Aurora Cannabis is spending 100 million Canadian dollars ($82 million) to build an 800,000-square foot-production facility beside Edmonton International Airport.
4) Q: Should I keep my dealer’s number on speed dial?
A: You can if you like but why not learn to grow your own in the meantime, so your stash is reliable. Canadian medical marijuana patients registered under the ACMPR (Access to Cannabis for Medical Purposes Regulations) can already order clones from their marijuana provider. Check out #1, #7 on our list of fav ganja books to get you started on the home grow journey.
Alana seeks to see cannabis from the perspective of politicians, advocates, entrepreneurs, and consumers. She got her start with a byline in the arts and culture section and crossed over into cannabis after using it medicinally. Current projects include investigations into cannabis and wellness; entrepreneurs of the Green Rush; cannabis for athletes; and the evolution of cannabis laws and culture in Canada.