So, no big deal or anything, but cannabis bcomes legal in Canada on Wednesday. This October 17 date has been a real, albeit still somewhat surreal, target for a while, giving lawmakers, producers and retailers a serious deadline to get a lot of shit figured out. And as that deadline gets ever closer, putting increasing pressure on all the various things that could go wrong, the biggest concern emerging across the country is that there's just not going to be enough legal weed to go around.
"Legal cannabis supply to meet 30 to 60 percent of demand: C.D. Howe report" was the Financial Post headline. CBC put it another way in response to the same think tank study: "Don't delete your dealer's number yet."
Like most provinces, in Nova Scotia the liquor-distribution arm of government is also handling all the pot-dealing duties, and the demand for recreational cannabis was clearly low-balled. Last January attorney general Mark Furey announced there would be nine NSLC stores selling weed; in May the number was raised to 12; this week the NSLC has been talking up the ease with which anyone in the province will be able to get doob delivery through the liquor corporation's coming weed website.
What exactly will be available in those various retail environments? Will there be a sure-to-impress selection in the flagship NSLC Cannabis store on Clyde Street, the only NSLC shop where weed and liquor won't be sold under the same roof? How many strains of sativa should Scotian shoppers seek? The answer to questions like these suggest what the weed shortage looks like on store shelves.
"Cannabis LPs have told us to expect less than what we ordered," explains the NSLC's Beverley Ware, "so we anticipate there will be fewer varieties of product and less inventory on hand than we had planned." There are currently only 120 licensed producers in all of Canada, a number that includes the three LPs in Nova Scotia that aren't yet producing crops for retail. "The industry is new and the LPs are working hard to get their product picked, packed and shipped," Ware continues. "We are receiving inventory regularly and are hopeful that we will have a wide product assortment to offer our customers on October 17."
Where does this leave you, the prospective recreational cannabis shopper, come the end of prohibition? With no Nova Scotian ganja in the game, Moncton-based Organigram is effectively our local producer, so that's a brand to watch for.
As for strains, Organigram was recently nominated for a whole slew of Canadian Cannabis Awards. These are like the Academy Awards of weed, and OGI is nominated in categories including Top Sativa Flower (for the Edison #7 strain), Top Indica Flower (Edison #3) and Top Balanced Flower (for the CBD-rich Baleen strain). Look for those names at your local retailer—if you have one—and if they're not in stock, remember that in this brave new world, NSLC staff are paid to give you reefer recommendations.