Hamilton pot store to scale back hours in wake of supply problems
Province says it is dealing with a 'national shortage of market-ready cannabis'
Demand is outpacing supply at Hamilton's two legal storefront dispensaries — leaving one shop on the cusp of scaling back its hours because it can't keep shelves stocked.
Steven Fry, owner of Canna Cabana, told CBC News that he will have to shut down his east end shop on Sundays if the province won't send him more pot per week, as they are consistently selling out.
"I am a business after all. It doesn't make a lot of sense to open the doors and not be able to sell the product that we're known for," he said. "It's like Subway opening the doors to only sell cookies and pop.
"My biggest competitor is the black market. What kind of message do we send to the public if the legal stores don't have supply to keep up with demand?"
Canna Cabana was the first storefront dispensary to open its doors in the city last month, and since then, demand has been steady, Fry says.
The issue, he says, is the province won't let shops order more than 25 kilograms of cannabis per week – regardless of sales, population density or where the store is located.
That has meant his store is selling out of a lot of products roughly five or six days after each weekly delivery.
"We're selling out. We've reached a point weekly where we can't keep up with demand," he said.
Dundas' Hello Cannabis, Hamilton's other recreational dispensary, is also feeling the strain of supply issues, said Ryan Caruso, Chief Operations Officer.
"We're certainly having problems ordering and stocking a variety of products — CBD oils and other high quality flower," he said in an email.
"The province is doing their best to keep up with the demand side. Hello Cannabis will not be changing store hours at this point but we'd love to see more regular supply in certain categories."
Ontario Cannabis Store (OCS) spokesperson Amanda Winton told CBC News that the province has implemented "temporary measures" to ensure equal supply of inventory for stores given a "national shortage of market-ready cannabis."
She said in an email that the OCS is working with its 37 licenced producers to secure supply for both storefronts and online sales.
"The OCS will continue to monitor the supply situation and may make adjustments as required to better support sales trends that are emerging," she said.
Fry said he feels it's ironic that Premier Doug Ford slammed Hamilton for its onetime proliferation of illegal storefront dispensaries last month, yet the province isn't properly supplying its legal stores.
"The irony is we can't keep up with the supply for the demand. It's like the kettle calling the teapot black. It's a bit harsh to be calling out the mayor of Hamilton, but the province can't keep up with the demand itself."