Alberta has issued 10 new licenses for retail cannabis stores, violating the owners of some existing ones.
Businesses complained of a shortage of supplies from legalization in October last year. Provincial government says supply has made a "modest improvement" in recent weeks, which has led Alberta Gaming, Liquor and Cannabis (AGLC) to add new licenses.
"Who is able to improve inventory levels? Honestly, they have been decreasing over the past few weeks," says Peter Boyne, Managing Director at Beltline Cannabis in Calgary.
"My order next week and order this week are still the smallest."
Only a month after legalization, AGLC announced that it had received only 20% of the cannabis that ordered to deliver 250 stores for six months. Since then, there has been a shortage across Canada and, in response, Alberta has restricted retail outlets to 65 until the announcement on Friday, resulting in 75 licenses.
Boyne says he barely has enough product to keep his store open six hours a day so he's stunned to hear the message.
"We have regulars who come all the time asking for certain products and unfortunately the answer is that it is very common," I am sorry we can not get it yet, "he said.
Andrew Friedman knows little about cannabis deficiency. He is a former director of co-ordination of marijuana in Colorado, which legalizes cannabis before Canada. He said it could take years before demand to balance the legal supplies.
"I think no matter how you do it, it will take about a year to 18 months for the supply to really compete with the black market," Friedman said.
"It's just because there's a huge amount of capital spending to grow to be able to create a brand new market for billions of dollars."
AGLC says "in discussions" with another 12 licensed cannabis manufacturers to provide more product.
"We are convinced that the inventory can hold 10 more retail outlets," said AGLC President and CEO Alan Mason.
"AGLC continues to work with our licensed manufacturers and current retailers to deliver solutions that will support a sustainable market.
The 10 new licenses will be offered to those who have met all the conditions before the moratorium on licenses in November.