How would Canada’s legalization effort affect Washington pot sales?
Even though marijuana will be legalized for recreational use in Canada by this time next year, actually acquiring it may be more of a problem.
According to a Thursday story on ctvnews.ca, licensed pot producers in Canada who already grow pot for medical use are frantically trying to expand as quickly as possible to meet the expected increased demand for recreational use.
They can only expand so quickly, the story says, and new producers are not starting quick enough, which could lead to a serious shortage. Canaccord Genuity Group predicted the medical and recreational marijuana use in Canada will reach 575,000 kilograms (about 1,267,656 pounds), according to the story.
To help answer the demand, the story says, the Canadian federal government announced in May that it would accelerate the process for new companies to become licensed producers. There are currently only 45 licensed producers in Canada, and more than 400 are awaiting approval, but it takes up to a year for a new producer to get product to the market.
Canada is not alone in these problems, as pot is legalized in more states in the United States.
According to a Wednesday fortune.com article, Nevada is facing similar problems since the state legalized pot July 1, and that could cost the state valuable tax money.
Part of Nevada’s problem, though, is a distribution problem, according to a money.cnn.com story Thursday, as the state only issued its first license to transport the product from farm to store on Wednesday. Nevada regulates which companies can distribute pot, and that led to many dispensary managers worrying that they wouldn’t be able to restock after sales boomed during the first two weeks since legalization.
Nevada Gov. Brian Sandoval actually declared a state of emergency last week, to allow state officials to consider new rules to ease the shortage.
Washington, of course, already went through many of its growing pains when it voted to legalize pot for recreational use in 2012 and sales began in 2014. In 2016, the Washington State Liquor and Cannabis Board announced that, “The amount of marijuana allowed to be grown by state-licensed producers in Washington is enough to satisfy both the medical and recreational markets.”
According to the Washington Post, the legal sale of marijuana in North America in 2016 totaled $6.7 billion, an increase of more than 30 percent. That number is projected to grow to $20.2 billion by 2021.