It didn’t take long after Canada legalised weed last month for it to become clear that legal sellers don’t have enough to keep up with demand. While 111 stores were expected to open across the nation when the law was changed, according to ABC, many have been left without stock, unable to serve customers who have queued up for hours.
Now, there are worries that the lack of legal weed is driving buyers back to the black market. Trevor Tobin – who used his and his mother’s savings to open a marijuana store – spoke to The Guardian about the problem, saying they’ve had to temporarily close the shop “after a week of 100 apologies” to customers.
“I’m paying staff members to sit around with fingers crossed that we’ll receive (new stock),” he says. “We never do.” And this inability to reliably supply customers and keep the business running is what causes him to worry about buyers’ return to the black market. “Now that we can’t supply them, they’re still going to find it,” he continues. “There’s no shortage of weed in Labrador City. Just the legal stuff.”
Rosalie Wyonch – a policy analyst – also expresses her concern about this step backwards in the article. “The government will likely be successful in eliminating the black market, as long as the legal supply comes online quickly,” she says. But the shortages – which were to be expected, to some extent – came faster than many people thought, Wyonch admits, thanks to regulatory frameworks and logistical issues, including postal strikes.
Wyonch even suggests that Canada could be looking at a similar delay to that of Colorado: when the state legalised weed, Colorado had to wait three years for supply to match demand.
For a while, at least, it seems one person’s claim to the Montreal Gazette will ring true: “the score is: black market, 1; government, zero.”