TORONTO – The final sprint to launch legal recreational marijuana sales this week in Canada can be summed up with a small stamp.
To sell marijuana products in Canada, the government requires a tax stamp on the parcel, but the stamps are only available from a single licensed supplier, the Canadian Bank Note Company Ltd. or CBNC. Once the pot producers negotiated with CBNC to get their stamps, they were probably dismayed to find that the stamps had no glue-and there was only one company in Canada that could glue glue to the stamps.
"If you have not done it – do not book your time six months ago with the one company in Canada that puts the glue on them, then you're in trouble," Tilray Inc.
Chief Executive Brendan Kennedy told MarketWatch. "I do not even know what you're doing."
MarketWatch was unable to determine the extent to which this potential bottleneck affected the nationwide retail shortage, but it is emblematic of the difficulties of moving a black market into a nationwide industry that is now raising capital through initial public offerings. While there were no massive, unexpected problems legalizing the drug in the first few days of legal marijuana sales in the first G-7 nation, it was difficult to determine if the still fragile distribution network could keep up with demand
For the largest pot companies The first week of legal sales was not associated with frenetic activity by executives managing inventories, making allotment decisions or trying to optimize sales. Due to the structure of the regulations are executives of Tilray and Cronos Group Inc.
told MarketWatch that it runs more or less as usual – too early even for feedback on products, to be sold online or in retail
To see all MarketWatch legalization reports in Canada, click here.
"It's six months (of) when you plant a seed, if you send it to [Ontario Cannabis Store]when everything is perfect, when everything is just right," said Tilray Kennedy. "So today I can not do much, it just would not make a big difference, were we desperate six months ago, yes, and of course there were places along the way where we had to do something to be prepared."  In Ontario, Canada's most populous province, three sources of sales intelligence told MarketWatch that the provincial online shop is the only way to legally buy grass there, as it will not allow retail sales until next year – had product on Wednesday, the first day of sale. But Daffyd Roderick, spokesman for the cannabis store in Ontario, said on Thursday morning by telephone that there was still plenty of supplies. Roderick declined to allow MarketWatch to interview senior executives at OCS, and also does not provide sales figures for the first few days of sales.
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"OCS will not publish statistics at this time" he wrote in an e-mail message. "We will say that the response to the legalization of cannabis has resulted in a high volume of orders."
A complicated matter for Ontario and other provinces running online retail stores is the danger of a strike by workers at the Canadian Post, the country's post office, which currently ships and delivers most of the legal grass. And in-store retail locations will open early in April, according to earlier Ontario government statements.
"Ontario should have been allowed to open retail the same day," said Corey Herscu, CEO of RNMKR PR, which specializes in cannabis communication. "You've lost a really good chance of doing it right to set a benchmark and I think there might have been many good ways to show other countries how Canada can lead."
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Some provinces, such as Nova Scotia, released October 17th sales before the usual quarterly release for the state liquor stores of the province, which now also Sell cannabis. Spokeswoman Beverley Ware said on the phone that Nova Scotia had sold more than $ 600,000 ($ 457,000) to buyers on the first day, and stores in the major subway areas would continue until the third day of legal sales.
"The first online customers have received their orders," she said on Friday, adding that many customers did so the next day.
But Nova Scotia struggled to get a pot. Of the 3.75 million purchased provincial buyers, Nova Scotia actually received less than 40% of the licensed manufacturers. The shops no longer have gel capsules and oils – because they initially have small amounts, Ware says – and saw bottlenecks in small packets and rolled-up joints.
Alberta's retail locations, which are run by private companies also suffer from supply shortages. Reached by phone late Friday, Alcanna Inc.
Chief Executive James Burns said that for the company's first orders for the five retail stores that it currently opened in Alberta, It also receives about 40% of the desired amount of product. The first order was 10 days before October 17, and the company placed its second order on Wednesday, which it expects to arrive sometime today or early next week.
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Demand is above expectations and the company plans to open many more retail locations, Burns says.
"I was surprised," he said. "We knew there would be a big crowd on Wednesday, but we did not expect it to go on Thursday and Friday, our stores are running at full capacity from 10am to 10pm, Saturday will be just like that, and we did not think it would take that long. "
Burns added that after Wednesday, more women and senior citizens would shop. Although the demand was greater than expected, the operation went smoothly, he said.
"We had 230 stores on Tuesday," Burns said, referring to the liquor stores he runs. "We had Wednesday [Legalization] is a big deal, but it's not a big deal."
While initial sales are difficult, Canada-based Shopify Inc.
– with the help of provincial online sites in Ontario, British Columbia, Newfoundland and Prince Edward Island and Canopy Growth Corp. operated retail locations can be managed.
among others, was able to quantify the great demand for the newly available legal drug. A spokeswoman said the company processes "over 100 transactions per minute" across the country and expects millions of orders within the first week of legalization.
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Despite the difficulties some had on October 17, there was no shortage of celebrations. There were industry events in Toronto, including some of the big pot companies. Pot enthusiasts, industry leaders, and others gathered at a Leafly-sponsored party to see a large artificial marijuana flower drop from the ceiling at midnight. Security was tight at the event, and just like the other celebrations, there was no official cannabis use.
Enthusiasts gathered in a large park called Trinity-Bellwoods near the city center. At about 4:20 pm In the Eastern Era, at least a hundred people gathered in light rain on Wednesday to commemorate the day, including one who swung in a kangaroo costume and swung an oversized artificial joint.
The night owls smoked joints, used vesos and bongs without visible police presence. While it was a celebration of the first day of legal marijuana sales in Canada, a few noted the fact that the pot they smoked had to be illegally obtained because the Ontario online store had not yet begun to deliver.