Canada Says There Will Be Enough Marijuana to Meet Demand

(Bloomberg) -- The Canadian government is confident there will be enough marijuana to pass around despite concerns of a looming supply shortage as the nation rolls out legal sales next week.

Canada is “well positioned” to supply cannabis as the country transitions to a legal market on Oct. 17, with 66 licensed producers given the go-ahead to sell marijuana, said Mathieu Filion, a spokesman for Health Minister Ginette Petitpas Taylor. More than 160 expansions or modifications of existing facilities have been approved since June 2017 and the government estimates the nation’s licensed growers have in excess of 11 million square feet of space as of the end of June, including space for cultivation and office space and storage.

“Based on current inventory levels and growth in production capacity, the industry is well positioned to supply product as consumers transition to the legal market,” Filion said Tuesday in an email.

The government’s response comes amid worries about Canada’s readiness for legal pot. Only a handful of retail locations will be up and running on the first day of legal recreational sales, including one in British Columbia and none in Ontario, the largest province. British Columbia and Nova Scotia expect to receive fewer supplies than ordered from licensed producers amid lower crop yields and insufficient supplies of packing materials.

The supply of legal pot in Canada will only meet 30 percent to 60 percent of demand after legalization, according to a study by the University of Waterloo and the C.D. Howe Institute.

The government has provided time for federally-regulated producers to harvest, package and ship cannabis products to authorized distributors and retailers, Filion said. Federal, provincial and territorial governments have each taken “significant” steps toward ensuring that there is an “orderly transition,” he said.

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