Canada has been smoking it up.
The first industrialized nation in the world to have legalized recreational marijuana, Canada knew it would be a difficult task to meet the massive demand that would befall both brick-and-mortar and online stores of weed when it finally became purchasable. But no one could have quite expected that many stores across Canada would run out of weed within hours of it becoming legal. According to multiple reports, producers of weed have not been able to meet the demands of consumers on the very first day itself, leading one disappointed smoker telling the Montreal Gazette, "for me, the score is: black market, 1; government, zero."
Stores across the country have been scrambling to get consumers, standing in long queues, what they need, but their stocks have fallen well short of the demands.
"I'm a little shocked that I sold out so fast, and also very upset that I don't have product for everybody," Thomas Clarke, who owns a store, told the CBC. "I'm letting down a lot of people here and I was assured that if I paid for the cannabis I would receive it."
In Quebec, for instance, there were at least 42,000 orders for marijuana buds on day one, and it could still not meet the demands of all its customers. Many who waited in lines outside stores for hours were forced to go home empty-handed.The same could be said of online stores as well. Several online stores of weed were hit by glitches, sold out products, and technical failures because of a lot of traffic, as reported by Vice. Online stores delivering in places like British Columbia and Ontario ran out of their most popular products soon after going on sale, while one company in Winnipeg managed to sell all of its stock worth $50,000 online within hours.
Canada's inability to meet the demands of its marijuana consumers is not altogether surprising. After all, this is the biggest experiment ever taken as far as legalizing weed is concerned. In fact, researchers at the University of Waterloo and the C.D. Howe Institute conducted a study last month suggesting that Canada will fall well short of meeting its consumer demands. While 610 tonnes of marijuana is expected to be needed, Canada right now only has the infrastructure to deliver 210 tonnes of it.
Even so, administration officials believe that past the initial rush, things will settle down and Canada will be able to meet the demands of all weed consumers, according to Bill Blair, a former Toronto police chief who has led the government's legalization programme
"We expected, you know, certain strains might run out and there would be a bit of a run on supply," he said. "But, you know, they've got a pretty good infrastructure in place and I'm confident it will work."