Why is Canada Running out of Cannabis?
Literally a month after Canada became the second country in the world to legalise Cannabis, it seems the demand for legal weed has been a lot higher than expected.
When Canada announced that Cannabis was finally going to be made legal across the whole country for recreational use, there was a great deal of excitement and for a lot of people, relief. Canada is now the second country in the world, behind Uruguay, to legalise the recreational use of weed with adults allowed to posses up to an ounce of cannabis and grow up to 4 plants in their own household. However a month after the official legalisation hit the press, Canada is now running out of cannabis.
Marijuana has long been seen as an alternative to conventional medicine, especially for things such as epilepsy and arthritis and has long been secretly used by people who really need it. Over the years, there have been contrasting arguments for the legalisation of Marijuana, often seen as the softest of recreational drugs, due to the different experiences of previous and continuous users.
However, Canada’s government has developed another problem after legalising it nationwide; massive shortages. So why is Canada running out of cannabis? Demand for weed has boomed since it was legalised and ‘smoke’ stores have been running out almost as fast as they can buy it off their provincial suppliers. Canadian think tanks have said that the shortage is worse than expected and this has led to stores having to curb the amount of hours and even days that they are open. The stores that are open are having to ration supplies as customers queue out of the door, and this has resulted in people reverting back to unlicensed and ‘illegal sellers’ in order to get their fix.
Above: The first legal cannabis sale in Canada at Tweed. Image credit: CNN
This was always going to potentially be a stumbling block for the Canadian government as with everything new, demand far outweighs the initial supply, however the unexpected demand has definitely caused issues. The shortage is not expected to last long term as the country comes to term with managing the demand and the supply will catch up eventually which will make things easier. The fact Canada is running out of cannabis was something that was always going to happen, just like anything else new, people are always intrigued to try it for themselves.
While it has been discussed a number of times whether should weed be legalised in the UK? Although so far there has been no headway made. So what are the pros and cons of legalising the drug?
Apart from the obvious medical benefits to a lot of people, one potentially massive pro is that crime involving weed will decrease. However you could argue that an effect of this is that people will see it as no longer as exciting as things like Cocaine and Ecstasy who’s negative side effects can be much much worse and more use of these would result in more fatalities. However like any drug, smoking weed, especially the stronger hybrid strains can have a severe impact on mental health and long term users will vouch for this, including paranoia and even schizophrenia.
Above: Medical use of cannabis has been legal since Canada 2001 which led to a growing movement to legalise it for recreational use. Image credit: Rollingstone
As well as this, if Cannabis was legalised in the UK it would surely be a huge source of income for the Government if they were to regulate, distribute and tax the sale of it which could be then put back into things such as community projects. However, would we really trust the current Government to put this back into the communities of ‘everyday people’. If they cut local councils and social housing etc to the brink of collapse why would they necessarily inject more money into these projects from cannabis tax sales?
Shortages such as the one Canada is facing could also cause problems as people could turn to illegal sellers and turning to other crime in order to obtain what they’re after. There is no doubt that the debate over the legalisation in the UK will rage on until there is a proper discussion in Parliament, but, if there is to be a legalisation, the British Government would be keen to avoid making the same mistake as their Canadian counterparts to keep the cannabis supply up with demand.
In the UK, cannabis production has become overly saturated unlike it was in say the late 90s and early noughties, whereby weed would be imported from Amsterdam or grown on an industrial scale. Nowadays it is likely there is someone on your street with a grow on the go, and not just the every day strains either. But like any commodity that is traded on the stock market, supply needs to be regulated, in the case of Canada maybe more people want to smoke weed then they originally expected?