Despite a handful of development permits approved by Town Council, it may still be some time before a cannabis retail location opens in Sylvan Lake.
Alberta Gaming, Liquor and Cannabis (AGLC) has currently suspended the acceptance and approval of all cannabis retail locations.
According to Chara Goodings, senior communications officer with AGLC, the application process stopped in November, just one month after recreational cannabis was suspended.
“Right now, because we have such a shortage of cannabis… in November we put on a moratorium, like a hold, on licences,” said Goodings.
She said the reason AGLC stopped accepting applications is because there is not enough inventory to go around.
If AGLC continued to grant retail licences, the stock would not be sustainable and could potentially lead to businesses closing as a result.
“Until we can secure more product and supplies are stable, we won’t be granting any more licences,” Goodings said.
Currently there is no timeline for when new licences will be approved.
“If a community doesn’t have any [retail locations] yet, they probably won’t for a while yet.”
Even though no new licences are expected to be granted in the next while, Goodings says the ones that came in before applications closed are still being processed.
All licence applications currently in the hands of AGLC are going through all the due diligence checks required by the Alberta Government.
Goodings says continuing with the background and financial checks for each applicant in the meantime means businesses can move forward, once stock levels regulate again.
The country-wide shortage was unexpected, Goodings said. When planning for legalization the Province planned to have enough stock to last a full three months.
“We expected a demand, but what we got was completely unexpected,” Goodings said. “We didn’t even receive everything we ordered initially.”
She said the Province only received about 70 per cent of its initial order, and the inventory stocks have not evened out since.
The AGLC does not want to distribute already limited stock to a larger number of stores, according to Goodings.
Goodings said businesses already in operation are having a hard time, and are not always happy. When a company requests inventory from AGLC they don’t always get exactly what they request or the amount.
“We basically see what we have, they put in their order and then we have to try and balance it out to make sure any one location isn’t taking all of the inventory, and we make sure that every single store gets something” said Goodings.
AGLC is looking for more licensed producers to try and counteract the product shortage, according to Goodings.
Recently, the AGLC signed on to work with four more producers, which ups the total to 19 licensed producers supplying product to the AGLC.
Goodings says the AGLC is looking across the country to find new producers to work with.
“There are a few applications that are 100 per cent done and ready to go… We are ready to give them a licence as soon as we actually have the inventory that makes it viable.”
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