‘I ran out at 4:20’: Canada faces weed shortages one day after legalization

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Canada just became the second industrialized nation in the world to legalize cannabis for recreational use and society is already struggling to adjust a little, with pot paucity already proving problematic.

In the province of Newfoundland and Labrador, the first to legally sell cannabis in Canada at midnight on October 17, licensed cannabis retailers are experiencing such dramatic demand for their product that many are running low or have sold out completely in just 24 hours.

“It’s very bad news in my eyes. I ran out at 4:20 today, believe it or not,” cannabis retailer Thomas Clarke told CBC News, with a wry nod to marijuana culture. “I’m a little shocked that I sold out so fast, and also very upset that I don’t have product for everybody. I’m letting down a lot of people here and I was assured that if I paid for the cannabis I would receive it.”

READ MORE: Maple to cannabis: Canada now world’s largest marketplace for legal marijuana

Clarke received just CAD$10,000 of his $70,000 order from his supplier but received no explanation; a troubling sign for the burgeoning $4 billion industry. More than five million Canadians are projected to purchase the drug in 2018, representing about 15 percent of all citizens. Sales are forecast to spur an additional $1.1 billion in economic growth resulting in a $400 million tax windfall for the government.

Canada is the first major economy and G7 nation to fully legalise the devil’s lettuce and just the second nation in the world after Uruguay which legalized the drug in 2013. US Customs and Border Control is already keeping a close eye on Canadians paying a visit to their southern neighbor.

“If… a Canadian is coming to the United States and it has nothing to do with the marijuana industry or the proliferation of the industry, that person would generally be deemed admissible,” CBP officer Christopher Perry said in a press conference near the Canadian border, as cited by Al Jazeera.

Toronto Police have launched a light-hearted public information campaign pre-empting any potential nuisance calls now that the drug has been legalized.

In the wake of the legalization, the bottom has fallen out of the market, temporarily at least, as some of the largest marijuana producers by market capitalization Canopy Growth, Tilray, Cronos, and Aurora Cannabis were trading down between four and nine percent, Markets Insider reports. These companies did witness historic growth in the build-up to the change, however, and will likely bounce back as the market stabilizes.

Each province sets its own age limits, rules and regulations regarding the sale of cannabis with some opting for brick and mortar stores while others prefer to keep the business online. According to some estimates, government websites processed 100 orders per minute while waiting lines stretched for blocks outside many dispensaries across the country as legalization rolled out.

Citizens 18 or 19 years old may purchase up to 30 grams or grow four plants at home while sales of edibles will be legalized next year.

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