'Beyond expectations': Booming sales at Winnipeg cannabis stores threaten supply
'There will be some strains that are going to be gone. No question about it,' says Delta 9 spokesman
Cannabis retailer Delta 9 says if the current pace of sales keeps up, they and other sellers in Manitoba could run out of supply in a week.
"Everybody is pushing out product as fast as they humanly can, but the demand is absolutely massive," company spokesman Gary Symons said Thursday, noting sales are about 50 per cent higher than anticipated.
"We expected a big push, we did not expect this. It is beyond expectations."
Lineups lasted throughout most of Wednesday at all six pot shops open in Winnipeg during Day 1 of legalized recreational cannabis sales in Canada.
Delta 9's location on Dakota Street in St. Vital raked in $325,000 in combined sales at the store ($200,000) and online ($125,000), Symons said.
The scene has been much the same Thursday, if maybe a little tempered.
"It is not the madhouse that it was yesterday — it's a semi-madhouse. But we are seeing very, very high volumes again," Symons said
"The store is completely full [of people] to its legal capacity, as I speak. We're expecting another big day."
'We'd be out next week' at current pace: Delta 9
That demand is putting a strain on the supply of strains.
There was slightly more than 60 kilograms of cannabis in Delta 9's vault at the start of Wednesday. At the end of the day, there was 35 kg, Symons said.
"We can sustain it for some days but if it kept on at this rate there's no way we could sustain this pace. I don't think anybody in this country could," Symons said.
"If it kept on at the same pace, we'd be out next week."
There is another crop coming soon, but not for another three weeks, he said.
"We're hoping that we're going to make it through [until then] but absolutely, there will be some strains that are going to be gone. No question about it."
Symons spoke with the owner of Tweed, another retailer with two stores in Winnipeg and one in Dauphin, and "they're in the same boat."
- Yes, you can carry up to 30 grams of pot in Manitoba — but leave it at home if you're going to court
Even some of those who bought product weren't able to get it right away.
About 150 people who ordered online from Delta 9 didn't get their goods Wednesday because the company's Pineapple Express delivery service couldn't meet the demand, Symons said.
Those deliveries are expected to be made Thursday and Delta 9 has increased its fleet of vehicles to match demand, which Symons expects to slow down after the weekend.
"I do think that it will taper off and by next week we'll get down, you know, more like $100,000 [in sales] a day or maybe a little more than that."
A spokesperson for Manitoba Liquor and Lotteries says it is working with retailers to manage supply, staggering shipments over the next few weeks in an effort to meet requests.
"Every province — not just Manitoba — is receiving substantially less cannabis than what was originally requested," the spokesperson said in an email.
"As with the start-up of any new industry, there are a number of contributing factors to these shortages, not the least of which is the volume of orders and the quantities of cannabis requested from licensed producers across the country."
Pot shops currently open in Manitoba:
- Delta 9 Cannabis Store, Unit 1-827 Dakota St.
- Tokyo Smoke, 55B Goulet St.
- Tokyo Smoke, 101-264 McDermot Ave.
- Meta Cannabis Supply Co./National Access Cannabis, Unit 23-584 Pembina Hwy.
- Tweed, 120 Osborne St.
- Tweed, 1592 Regent Ave.
- Tweed/Canopy, 1450 Main Street South
With files from Meaghan Ketcheson and Alana Cole