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Canadian Dispensaries Get Licenses Amid Shortage

November 6, 2018

This week, British Columbia’s Liquor and Cannabis Regulation Branch approved the first business license for Canadian dispensaries across the nation. The first medical marijuana retailer in Canada, Tamarack Cannabis Boutique, is making history by being the first recreational dispensary with a business license.

First License for Private Dispensary

Owner Tamara Duggan remarked that “I’m feeling a little thrilled right now. When I get that document in my hand, that’ll be a pretty exciting moment.” The dispensary opened their doors to recreational marijuana customers on October 17th, but as soon as they receive their license from the province, Tamarack Cannabis Boutique will begin to purchase their product wholesale from the government.

Dugan noted that,“It’s been a fairly lengthy — even, at times, arduous — process,” referring to the licensing protocol. “Every step of the way the government’s only been the next step ahead of me.” As the first dispensary to receive their license, they will serve as a test run for the entire system.

She commented that, “It was kind of interesting because I knew they were working really hard to pull the whole system together and then found out that I was basically the guinea pig. So for the folks coming behind me — thank you very much — I’ve done the hard work for you.”

Canada Postal Strike

Once the system has been tested, their will likely be a massive rollout of licenses for Canadian dispensaries. However, the demand for recreational marijuana has created some early hurdles for consumers and businesses. The majority of Canadians bought their first adult-use marijuana online and will eventually receive it in the mail, but the overload of mail orders motivated Canadian postal workers to strike.

The Canadian Union of Postal Workers members have taken to a rotating strike dating back to October 22nd. Postal workers are demanding that the government address health and safety concerns, workload, staffing and wages before ending their strike. This could significantly delay the delivery of cannabis to consumers and lead to a negative experience with the online ordering system.

Cannabis Shortage Across Canada

The federal government has added insult to injury by failing to license enough cannabis producers to keep up with demand. This combined with limited amount of brick-and-mortar Canadian dispensaries has resulted in a cannabis shortage. The Canadian government is working to speed up the licensing to meet the demand but it’s really no surprise that many retailers sold out.

Government-run marijuana retailers in Quebec were forced to close three days this week due to the cannabis shortage and will be limiting their store hours to Mondays – Wednesdays until production has stabilized. The Manitoba Liquor & Lotteries expects cannabis shortages in both private dispensaries and online could extend to six months or more.

Ontario, Canada’s most populated province, will only be able to order online until April of next year. Private cannabis retailers can only open their doors after the new conservative government drafts the regulations and begins to license Canadian dispensaries. There are some steps that retail owners can take to prepare their store and staff for the flood of clientele.

It’s imperative that Canadian dispensaries invest in a dispensary POS software that can handle high volume traffic while maintaining accurate sales and inventory records. It will be essential for the point of sale system to integrate with Canada’s track and trace software as well. IndicaOnline will offer all of the above and cannabis retailers can begin training their staff even before they receive the business license. Schedule a demo to learn about the advanced functionality of our cannabis specific POS software.