On Wednesday, Canada became the latest major country to legalise the recreational use of cannabis. While medical marijuana has been legal in the country since 2001, this was a landmark day in the drug trade laws for the country.
Various Canadian provinces and municipalities have been preparing for the end of cannabis prohibition, and once the day came where it could be legally purchased, many stores weren't able to cope with the demand. Even after just two days, it seems that they have burned through their stocks, with many turned away from stores.
The number of orders have reportedly reached up to 38,000 in Ontario and 42,000 in Quebec, with hundreds in line waiting to get to the SQDC store in Quebec on Wednesday all the way through to the night.
"This volume of orders far exceeds the forecasts," The SQDC said of the shortages. "[It was] difficult to anticipate the volume of sales, given the lack of data from a sector that 48 hours ago was still illegal."
There are plenty of people turning up wanting to be part of this significant change in the law, but some are taking it a bit far. Winnipeg Police wrote on Twitter that a ticket handed out to one driver who was caught smoking while driving, just an hour after the legislation came into effect.
"A Consume Cannabis in a Motor Vehicle ticket was issued," they wrote. "Just like alcohol, consuming cannabis is legal - and like alcohol, consuming it in your vehicle is **not**."
"I'm a little shocked that I sold out so fast, and also very upset that I don't have product for everybody,” Thomas Clarke, who runs THC Distribution in Portugal Cove-St Philip’s, explained to the CBC. “I'm letting down a lot of people here and I was assured that if I paid for the cannabis I would receive it."
"It's very bad news in my eyes. I ran out at 4:20 today, believe it or not," he added.
This problem also affected online stores, which were hit with glitches, stock shortage, and some complete website failures. One company in Winnipeg, Delta 9, reported that they sold out in the early morning after selling $50,000 worth of product.
However, this shortage was seen in advance by those monitoring the industry closely. In a study released earlier in the month, it was forecast that demand would outweigh supply by a considerable amount.
Researchers at the University of Waterloo, in collaboration with the C.D. Howe Institute, found that while Canada could supply approximately 210 tonnes, but the demand would be around 610.
It seems like they were right, and anyone who was a little late to the party this week may find it a little hard to join in on the party. Seeing as the marketplace is still in its infancy, a number of analysts foresee issues with the production in the near future, with Ontario not opening stores until the Spring.