N.S. pot shops lacking supply, finance minister says

Nova Scotia is getting only 35 to 40 per cent of the cannabis supply it needs to meet demand, the province’s deputy premier says.

Andrea Gunn (agunn@herald.ca) The Chronicle Herald

Speaking with The Chronicle Herald, Nova Scotia’s deputy premier and minister of finance Karen Casey said some of the province’s marijuana retail locations have had to close down for up to several days a week to deal with a lack of stock.

“We recognize that if we don’t have the supply somebody else will. So in order to redirect people from the black market to the legal market, to a quality product, we need to have it on our shelves,” she said.

Casey, who was in Ottawa on Monday for a meeting with her provincial and territorial counterparts, said it’s not just Nova Scotia that’s having problems with cannabis supply.

“Every province around the table expressed similar concerns. So there was a strong voice from the ministers of finance to have someone have a take a look at this,” she said.

“We want to make sure that to Health Canada understands the negative impact that the lack of supply is having.”

In meetings on Monday, federal finance minister Bill Morneau was receptive to the ministers’ concerns, Casey said, and has agreed to communicate them to Health Canada. Some provinces have also independently reached out to Health Canada officials.

Casey said she’s hoping Health Canada will be able to do something to speed up the process of licencing producers to supply recreational cannabis in Canada.

Casey also hopes the NSLC eventually will have access to more locally produced cannabis to sell in its stores — presently there are only two licensed producers in Nova Scotia with a third set to be approved soon.

“We certainly want to support local, these are companies that have invested heavily into the production in Nova Scotia, that have employed Nova Scotians and so we want to make sure that we give our business to those companies,” she said.

No one from Health Canada was immediately available for comment.

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Canadian Cannabis Weed Shortage Supply and Demand Marijuana Not enough weed to go around