In a number of Canadian provinces, there has been a great deal of concern as to whether the demand for marijuana will exceed supply. In Quebec, the announcement that only 15 dispensaries are to be built was a warning sign for many.
Canada’s capital province of Ontario, had a switch of administrations and plans for legalization that worried many. This was exacerbated by the fact that the Doug Ford Administration had not signed any agreements with licensed producers up until very recently.
However, Health Canada is confident that there will be enough marijuana for October. What makes them so confident? And will there actually be enough legal cannabis for the upcoming date?
How Can Health Canada Be Confident There Will Be Enough Marijuana For October?
While their confidence is more than abundant, Health Canada has been rather vague in the motivations for their mojo. One official said,
“We with our provincial and territorial partners, as the regulator, I think we’ve taken a number of decisive steps to be confident… Having a well-functioning, supplied system when the Act and regulations come into force is critical.”
Knowledge of what sort of demand for legal cannabis will exist come October is speculative at best. Truthfully, many factors are at play and it is worth exploring a few of these.
High Demand Come October
For one, the demand for legal cannabis will depend entirely on how many people can be squeezed from the black market. An effective system of legalization would ideally eliminate black market weed. However, this is not always the case and the illegal pot economy will not be squashed overnight. Price, availability, and quality of the product will no doubt be some of the factors at play here.
These factors will vary greatly based on the regulations each individual province has established. Quebec with its 15 dispensaries might not be able to fulfill demand adequately, but surely the $6 per gram price tag will undoubtedly be an asset.
Ultimately, what factors will play a role in bringing over customers to the legal market are not fully understood. However, the successes and failures of the various marijuana economies in Canada will be a good source of data. This data will aid in determining what system of legalization yields the most legal consumers.
Survey Data Inconclusive
Another issue in determining whether there will be enough marijuana for October is the patchiness of survey data on the subject. Estimates of how many people currently use weed vary anywhere from 10% to 25%.
However, surveys on drug consumption have a number of inherent problems. For one, the black market is notoriously difficult to investigate simply because it is illegal. People involved in illegal activities do not want to be probed and questioned. Estimates, therefore, could be accurate, or grossly understated.
This is to say nothing of the effect legalization will have on the number of cannabis smokers of the future. Will legitimacy and the government’s seal of approval attract many first time users? Or will legalization take away from the sexy forbidden flare of weed and decrease levels of consumption? The latter is what happened in Portugal and Holland.
So why is Health Canada so confident that there will be enough marijuana for October?
As Health Canada previously mentioned, logistics are essential to the success of legal weed. To this end, the Canadian government has drastically increased its base of supply.
Health Canada has noted that it has changed the way in which it processes licenses for weed producers in the lead up to legalization. As a result, Canada is now home to 111 licensed producers of cannabis.
Perhaps this is the source of the government’s new found confidence.
Is there Reason to Be Hopefull?
Health Canada isn’t showing it’s cards. The same official had this to say on the matter.
“There are limits of course to which we can go to declaring with absolute certainty what the supply will be on opening day… I can just sort of indicate that all levels of government working with the industry have been making every effort to ensure that when opening day occurs, there will be products.”
Securing the country’s supply lines was certainly a good first start to ensuring there will be enough marijuana for October.
However, uncertainty over the number of future consumers has muddied the water. Additionally, improved supply lines might be irrelevant if the infrastructure and policies of the provinces are unsuitable for mass distribution.
Much is unknown at the present moment and only data derived from legalization can answer the question of whether or not there will be enough marijuana for October.
By: Stefan Hosko