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B.C. eyes smaller pot growers to fight product shortage

Province may move to marijuana microproducers to meet demand, minister of solicitor general and public safety says
Cannabis joint

B.C. has a marijuana shortage.

At least that’s the story with government-sanctioned cannabis products in the wake of the national legalization of marijuana last October.

“Supply is still very much an issue not just here but across the country,” B.C. Minister of Solicitor General and Public Safety Mike Farnworth said April 4.

He said the province has been pushing for the addition of marijuana microproducers into the supply chain to ensure enough pot gets to market.

Supply issues began to plague market not long after legalization.

And doobie-desperate British Columbians can forget wandering down the street to the local dealer if that dealer’s become a neighbourhood nuisance.

Farnworth is introducing amended 2013 Liberal legislation aimed at cracking down on nuisance properties. It includes taking action on properties where there are freelance dealers are involved in offenses involving the consumption, possession, production, sale or supply of cannabis in contravention of the provincial Cannabis Control and Licensing Act. That act regulates marijuana sales in the province post-legalization.

As far back as January, cannabis shortages prompted Quebec to reduce weekly days of operation to four at government-run stores, while Ontario placed a limit of 25 on the number of private stores eligible to start operating in April.

Farnworth said the shortages have led Alberta to stop issuing licences.

B.C’s neighbour had to cease issuances after its government-run distributor received only about 20% of stock ordered from federally licensed producers.

But, Farnworth said, the province is continuing work to approve licence applications for marijuana retail outlets. He said of about 430 applications currently in process, some 390 are working their way through community level approvals.

He said a significant number of store applications do come up with alerts that require “a deeper dive” into an applicant’s background.

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