The Alberta Cannabis Collective responds to retail licensing delays and cannabis supply shortages

Calgary, Dec 13, 2018/ The Alberta Cannabis Collective (the ‘ABCC’) recognizes the difficult circumstances facing Alberta and the motives behind the recent moratorium on retail licensing, but sees this as a short-term solution and insists alternative measures be taken. It is imperative to maintain Alberta’s attractiveness as a pro-business environment for the cannabis industry in order to bolster the Alberta economy, encourage investment, create jobs, and maximize tax revenues.

“As a company with a head office in Calgary, it is disheartening to see the flow of recreational cannabis licenses grind to a halt.” says Dave Martyn, President of Starbuds Canada. “Alberta could really be the leader of the cannabis market in terms of employment and economic output. A licence freeze doesn’t just stop stores from opening, it prevents entrepreneurs from building out their stores, getting the necessary financing and preparing for the stabilization of supply. This freeze stalls job growth and causes retailers to reconsider Alberta as part of their strategy.”

In light of the national supply shortage facing the cannabis industry and the subsequent suspension of the cannabis retail licensing process, the ABCC proposes holding an inclusive and collaborative industry forum to engage in open dialogue with the aim of:

  • Strengthening relations between the Alberta Gaming Liquor & Cannabis Commission, municipalities, producers, and retailers through open and transparent channels of communication.
  • Identifying the underlying causes of the challenges facing the industry and creating actionable solutions, strengthening the short and long-term position of Alberta’s cannabis retail industry.

Alberta currently has supply agreements with 15 licensed producers, representing only 25 per cent of the total number of licensed producers in possession of a sales license. This inherently creates a supply shortage, exacerbated by the inability of many producers to meet their committed quotas. As the private retail model ramps up in other provinces, especially Ontario, the existing stress on the system will only be amplified.

“The Alberta market is currently top priority for many producers, however, with private retail in Ontario beginning in Q2 2019, that focus could shift,” says ABCC Chair, Khalid Abdul Razak. “Ensuring Alberta receives adequate supply to satisfy demand and providing consumers with access to product through convenient retail channels is the key to maintaining Alberta’s competitiveness in the cannabis space.”

The Alberta cannabis sector is in position to build on its strong foundation and continue as the national leader in cannabis retail. In the eyes of the ABCC, the forward approach lies in creating balanced solutions through a cohesive effort by all key stakeholders – retailers, producers, and government.