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Edibles shortage disappoints St. Albert's Wanted Leaf

Shortage a replay of 2018 post-legalization
2310 edibles file
FILE PHOTO/St. Albert Gazette

A local pot shop owner is disappointed in a shortage of edible cannabis products, just after they became available to retailers.

The Wanted Leaf got its first order of cannabis chocolates, cookies and gummies two weeks ago, and product flew off the shelf within one week, owner Azam Ayoob said.

“It is disappointing, because you know there was a lot of hype,” he said.

“So right now I have nothing. I'm sold out. I have no stuff.”

Edibles, topicals and extracts officially became legal in October, marking the one-year anniversary of cannabis legalization in 2018. But Canadians were not able to purchase edible products from their local pot shop for a couple of months.

That was due to a 60-day waiting period requiring licenced producers to provide notice of their intent to sell new products.

The shortage in stock is a replay of what happened in 2018, when a province-wide cannabis shortage prompted the Alberta Gaming, Liquor and Cannabis Commission (AGLC) to place a moratorium on issuing business licences for new pot shops.

AGLC communications manager Heather Holmen said the shortage is a reflection of the “newness” of the industry.

“I think a lot of that can be attributed to the limited window of time that licenced producers had to manufacture the new products,” she said. “We're expecting quantity and selection will increase in the same way it did when the original legalization of cannabis came in.”

Currently there are over 400 brick-and-mortar shops licenced to sell cannabis products in Alberta, all competing for supply from producers. Holmen said of the 44 licenced producers operating in Alberta, only about half expect to provide for the edibles market.

Alberta has more pot shops than the rest of the country combined, Holmen added, which could be contributing to the edibles shortage.

Ayoob said he was surprised by the demographic of consumers who came in for the first edibles on the shelves, and he was expecting an older crowd who might want to try cannabis without smoking the flowers.

“But it turned out that there was a lot of the younger people that were coming in for this,” he said. Ayoob added about a quarter of people purchasing edibles were people who have never tried any cannabis products.

The owner cautioned first-time users purchasing edibles to “go really slow.”

“We can establish a tolerance level, so you've got to go really slow,” he said.

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