Nevada legalized recreational adult use marijuana on July 1 with an overwhelmingly positive response from the community. For many, the response was too overwhelming, as it depleted much of the state’s supply of recreational cannabis. Officials eager to get a piece of the tax revenue marijuana is sure to generate failed to account for the number of people ready to purchase cannabis on day one. Thousands of eager customers waited in line for stores across the state to open, showing that the demand for legal marijuana was beyond everyone’s expectations. With Canada’s own launch day approaching, one has to ask if the markets are prepared to keep up with the impending demand.
Sales of recreational marijuana through July 4th topped three million dollars, mostly from the Las Vegas area. The state’s cut of the profits totaled nearly $500,000 in the form of the recreational marijuana tax. Massive sales led to shortages throughout the state. Believe it or not, the shortage of pot led to the Governor declaring a state of emergency. Yes, a state of emergency was declared which would allow for immediate regulation changes and a fast tracking of applications, to ensure that the state never runs into this problem again.
Months before Nevada discovered just how much marijuana is needed to keep a population fully stocked, some were asking if Canada was going ready. As it stands, the number of medical marijuana patients in Canada has grown exponentially over just the last year. Current facilities producing at the highest levels are still having trouble keeping product on their shelves. The implications for the industry’s ability to meet demand on a much larger scale are troubling. With recreational sales moving forward less than a year from now, does the industry have time to prepare?
Companies like MedReleaf and Aphria have already begun to build new facilities, and have expanded existing grow operations. Critics believe that currently known market plans for facility expansions will not be able to produce sufficient quantities of marijuana to meet projected demand. New companies seeking approval to build cultivation facilities have virtually no chance of being able to complete construction, plant seeds, and harvest by July 1 of next year, which pushes the burden to already existing producers.
Canada is having a hard enough time keeping up with the current medical demand, and as it looks now, dispensaries may find themselves in a pinch shortly after legalization hits. If stores can’t keep up with demand, people will continue to buy from the black market, which hurts the industry as a whole. The Canadian cannabis industry can learn a lot by examining Nevada’s launch day and the preparations that were made leading up to it. No one expected the overwhelming demand for recreational weed…but they should have.
Davie is a long time cannabis professional who has worked not only as a cultivator but in all aspects of retail cannabis. From budtender, to wholesale and retail management, and from harvester to advanced hydroponic specialist, Davie has been around the block more than once. Now residing in beautiful British Columbia, Davie now works with acres of greenhouses, producing some of the best buds in the country.