Thursday , June 17 2021

AGLC allows 10 more cannabis stores in Alberta as supply is improving

New Cannabis's first client, Gary, bought a blue dream at Calgary's shop on October 17, 2018.

Leah Hennel / Postmedia

The news on Friday originally placed Kate Gilbert at a natural height.

Relying on an improved supply climate for cannabis, Alberta Gaming, Liquor and Cannabis said they would release their two-month freeze on storage store licenses by adding 10 permits to the previous 65.

Four of them are in Calgary, two in the northeast and one southeast and southwest.

Gilbert believes her family's Micro Gold store in Okotoks, which is about to be sanctioned to be discovered as a cannabis supplier last November, can now finally be in the button business.

But it was not.

"It's so disappointing … I just told (the client) that we could be one of the ten, but I guess not," she said.

"We will do it, we know that things will eventually catch up."

The family opened the store last month, selling marijuana attributes, to wait for her time to get a green light to sell a bud.

"The day we passed our last inspection and received verbal confirmation, the same day the licenses were detained," said Gilbert, adding 15 more jobs in the store.

AGLC said the 10 new licenses will go to the first line to get them before the freeze on November 21 is imposed.

The lack of full supply from licensed producers who often fail to meet their contracts means a gap in cannabis supply, AGLC said.

Black market dealers said these flaws increased their sales by driving disgruntled customers to them.

But in recent weeks, this shortage has calmed down, Commission officials and retailers have said.

"After seeing a modest improvement over the past few weeks, we are confident that the inventory can hold 10 retail outlets," said AGLC President Alan Mason.

"AGLC continues to work with our licensed manufacturers and current retailers to deliver solutions that will support a sustainable market."

Over the past three months, AGLC supplies have increased by 10%, a spokeswoman said, who could not say when more licenses could be released.

Two of the new stores in Calgary are the 420 premium market of Jeff Mooi.

"We are excited that all of these stores are ready to go as well as their two managers," said Mooij, who now manages four locations in Calgary.

"But I do not think there will be much more stores to open very quickly due to the supply situation. These are baby steps.

Friday's announcement does not go far enough to alleviate the plight of dozens of cannabis sellers like Gilbert, who are still awaiting permission.

AGLC received 700 storage applications, although earlier this month it said that only five per cent of them could be opened if the moratorium was removed due to regulatory hurdles, often at the municipal level.

When the recreational cannabis was legalized last fall, the province said it could resolve up to 250 stores by October this year.

"While AGLC's supply levels are moderate, they are not robust enough to fully open the licensing process or accept new retail applications," the agency said.

Before relieving the freeze, Calgary had 20 cannabis stores that were doing business.

New stores can order a cannabis inventory on Monday and get it within seven to ten business days, AGLC reports.

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on Twitter: BillKaufmannjrn

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