After several months of sometimes spotty cannabis supply following legalization in October, the problem with shortages appears to have been rectified, according to a spokesperson with the Department of Finance.

A wider selection of cannabis productions, however, remains an issue.

“Since legalization, (the Northwest Territories Liquor and Cannabis Commission) has worked with suppliers to ensure a stable supply,” stated Todd Sasaki in an email to Yellowknifer.

“The market has responded and supply has not been an issue since February 2019,” Sasaki wrote, adding the commission will continue to “work with licensed producers to improve variety, and expects product selection will continue to improve over time.”

The Northwest Territories Liquor and Cannabis Commission reports there has been no supply shortages since February, according to Communications Officer Todd Sasaki. NNSL file photo

Sasaki stated the commission will monitor changes to regulations and their effect on drinks, vapes and edibles—the last of which will receive special attention.

Edibles, including cannabis-infused candies and cookies, are of particular concern because children may think they’re good to eat if allowed access to them.

“NTLCC will also continue to monitor regulatory changes, particularly for edibles, and will work with suppliers and producers to ensure a stable supply chain,” he wrote.

A BMO market analyst reports the supply situation nationwide has improved in recent months.

“It appears that the industry supply is improving sooner than we had anticipated,” Tami Chen wrote in a May 30 letter to her clients, citing longer store hours in Quebec and the green light for further retail locations in Alberta. “We consider these developments to be a modest positive,” she wrote.

Supply issues bedevilled the recreational industry in Canada since legalization. During that period, customers purchasing cannabis at the uptown Yellowknife Liquor Store were sometimes greeted with a sign reading, “Unfortunately, we’re sold out. Product won’t be available until further notice.”

In her letter, Chen said the introduction of vapes and edibles, and their accompanying regulatory steps, could affect supply. She explained that licensed producers might store their inventory of regular dried cannabis to convert into new products if they’re allowed to submit notices for them this summer.

“The potential downside to these developments is if Health Canada allows (licensed producers) to submit notices for new value-add products this summer. In such a scenario, we would expect a number of LPs will accumulate more inventory for conversion into value-add products,” she wrote.

“On the other hand, if regulatory delays shift the value-add roll-out to early 2020, (licensed producers) with more production capacity may refocus back to supplying the current recreational market.

The recent developments in the country’s cannabis industry should leave producers ready to grow, according to Chen.

“Among our coverage, we believe Aurora, CannTrust, Canopy, and OrganiGram would be well-positioned to capitalize on these developments,” she wrote.

As these producers prepare for the improved market conditions and reduced shortages, new challenges may appear while providing vapes, edibles and other value-added products and increasing the range of those available.

Nick Pearce

Nick Pearce is a writer and reporter in Yellowknife, looking for unique stories on the environment and people that make up the North. He's a graduate of Queen's University, where he studied Global Development...

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