Alberta Lifts Ban on Licensing New Cannabis Stores

Published on May 30, 2019 · Last updated July 28, 2020
Jesse Milns/Leafly

The Province of Alberta has lifted its moratorium on new cannabis stores due to a national cannabis shortage and has begun processing existing retail store applications in their queue.

The moratorium was first announced in November, and the province speculated it could take up to 18 months for the national cannabis shortage to lessen in order to lift the ban.

“Due to a steady increase in AGLC’s cannabis supply, the moratorium on accepting new retail licence applications and issuing new retail licences has been lifted,” read the beginning of today’s release from the Alberta Gaming and Liquor Commission.Join the Leafly Canada CommunityThe AGLC says it will “continue to monitor the supply to ensure that retailers continue to receive adequate inventory.”

The provincial agency said they will be issuing five licences on a weekly basis, “in order to ensure that Alberta’s existing and new retailers have a consistent amount of product.”

The picture stands in stark contrast to earlier reports that stores in Alberta were cutting hours and closing temporarily due to a cannabis shortage. As recently as this week, cannabis retailers in Ontario were cutting back their hours due to supply shortages, which limits their stores to a 25 kilogram allotment of cannabis per week.

Some Ontario Cannabis Stores Cut Hours Amid National Supply Shortage

Last month the Globe and Mail reported that the most coveted cannabis products, those high in THC, quickly sell out at stores across Alberta. It’s unknown whether these supply issues will continue, but the ALGC did say that if the stability of inventory takes a “drastic” downturn, it will evaluate reinstating the moratorium.

Provinces across the country have been feeling the cannabis product shortage.

Health Canada, for its part, has said there isn’t actually a national shortage of supply of cannabis—citing seemingly-healthy licensed producer inventory levels—but rather supply chain difficulties and ”localized and product-specific shortages.”

Still, stores in provinces across the country have reduced their hours, even in recent weeks, due to the lack of cannabis products they have access to.

Alberta’s move provides welcome news to the industry that the supply constraints—or whatever you want to call the situation stores have found themselves in—may now begin to alleviate.

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Harrison Jordan
Harrison Jordan
Harrison Jordan is a graduate of Osgoode Hall Law School in Toronto and enjoys reading and writing about the regulatory affairs of cannabis in Canada and around the world.
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