Everyone knew cannabis stores would be busy the first day of legalization, but nobody was expecting this. Canadians were very excited to get their hands on legal cannabis. There were line-ups around the block at stores – some even called in police to help manage the massive lines.

This excitement caused more than just massive lines. Cannabis stores around the country experienced a shortage – only hours after legalization began.

Cannabis Shortages

Turns out Canadians really love cannabis. It’s been five days since cannabis was legalized and there are serious shortages in both brick and mortar and online stores. Some retailers ran out of stock the first day of legalization. It seems Canada can’t keep up with this new demand.

Stores especially were readying themselves for the rush of business. Leading up to legalization, many sellers were stocking up on products, preparing for what they knew would be a big day for business. Their planning didn’t seem to help, however, as most businesses are now sold out or very low on cannabis.

Canada-wide Shortages

If you think the shortage is only affecting your local area, you’ll be surprised to learn that you’re not the only ones coming up short after legalization. This shortage seems to span the entire country. Several stores in Newfoundland and Labrador had to stop sales because they ran out of product completely. Potential customers in Quebec were sent home empty-handed because of short supplies. And the single cannabis retailer in Yellowknife ran out of supply before the end of Wednesday’s legalization day.

The problem isn’t only in-store either. It’s also online. Many online stores were experiencing similar issues, running out of stock quickly following legalization. Stock online sold out for many companies within hours of being open for business. And, to add to this, the Canada Post strikes have been affecting the delivery of some online purchases.

Why Wasn’t There Enough?

Canada simply didn’t have enough cannabis to supply the retailers. Many stores did not receive the quantities they had asked for. Instead, they received only portions of what they ordered. It seems the demand far exceeds Canada’s currently limited supply of legal cannabis products.

Canopy Growth Corp. CEO Bruce Linton saidthat the company expects to have sent out 100% of the product they had allotted for the next 30 days in just 10. He also added that cannabis growers had agreed to deliver a specific quantity over the course of a year, but that the order specifics were only made clear about two weeks ago.

As a result, stores are having a hard time replenishing their stock. Some can’t order cannabis at all because there are shortages across the nation.

What’s the Hold Up?

Part of the problem is that cannabis crops are being held back from distribution. One cannabis producer had their crop declared unfit by Health Canada. Another is ready and waiting to ship their cannabis to retailers, but has to wait to receive Health Canada-approved packaging.

How Long Will this Last?

Wondering when will these shortages end? Nobody seems to know. Some estimates say the shortage will last up to six months for both online and brick and mortar retailers. Unfortunately, we can’t make that cannabis grow any faster.


The best we can do for now is be patient – after all, it’s only been 5 days since legalization. It’s been a difficult road to estimate how much demand there would actually be for legal cannabis. Everyone – retailers, producers, and consumers – still has some learning to do, but we’ll get there eventually, Canada!


If you’re looking for dispensaries with plenty of stock, head over to our dispensaries page to see a map view of locations near you.