Brisk business eats into Maritimes' cannabis inventory
Legal cannabis is flying off the shelves of government stores.
After a big day of sales and long lineups Wednesday, the lines were running shorter Thursday and so were some of the supplies inside.
The Downsview Plaza NSLC in Lower Sackville had to close its cannabis section an hour early, at 9 p.m. Thursday, because the store was experiencing an “inventory shortage.”
Bev Ware, a spokeswoman for the NSLC, said the store was expecting a delivery overnight to replenish stocks for when it reopens at 10 a.m. Friday.
Elsewhere, it was another night of long lines for customers waiting to get inside Halifax's Clyde Street location as well as the Joseph Howe Drive location in Halifax and the Sydney River store.
“It was pretty easy, it took a little to get in there, but it's the beginning, so everyone wants to get some right now I guess,” said customer Jack Ver.
Figures released Thursday for Nova Scotia show just how big opening day was.
Business was brisk with more than 12,800 transactions totalling just over $660,000, including $47,000 worth of online purchases.
“We expected to be busy and we were very busy,” said Ware. “The interesting thing now will be to see if the level of interest continues.”
In New Brunswick, there were lineups, too, but Cannabis NB didn't release its first-day sales.
“We're choosing not to do it, simply for the fact that we want to see customer traffic, sales numbers, and the data on the background of our inventories,” said Liquor NB spokesman Marc Barbour.
While the second day of legalization brought shorter lineups - it's also meant a short supply of cannabis products.
“It seemed a lot of the stuff was sold out, but it makes sense because there's been so many people buying it,” said Ver.
That lack of supply is one of the reasons why Peter Moore isn't happy with the government-run model the province has chosen.
He used to work at a private cannabis dispensary.
“They have a sheet which is more x's than anything else, and the prices are all varied, so their selection is poor right now,” said Moore.
Along with selling out of some products, the Joseph Howe Drive location also ran out of online access code cards.
There's also a limited supply of small package sizes and pre-rolls.
“We do expect inventory to be an issue for the coming weeks, if not the next few months” Ware said.
In New Brunswick, there were also some products selling out at some locations - particularly for pre-rolls sold online.
“So, what I could recommend to our customers, if you are fortunate enough to be in a location that has a few of our stores, it may be out in one store, but it may not be out in the other,” Barbour said.
Some Maritimers don't have that option - but for now those who do can wait and see what they can still get.
The NSLC says a shipment of product did come in Wednesday morning, and the first Nova Scotia marijuana production company has been granted a retail sales licence and that is expected to help provide a more reliable supply.
In the meantime, the NSLC and Cannabis NB are keeping an eye on supplies, even transferring product from one store to another based on where it's most needed.
With files from CTV Atlantic’s Heidi Petracek.