Canada's cannabis laws and 5 burning questions for 2019

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2018 was a momentous year for cannabis advocates as Canada became the second country (after Uruguay) to legalize recreational marijuana use. Canadians and cannabis companies alike eagerly awaited legalization, but the rollout hasn’t been as smooth as they would have liked.

The most pressing problem facing the country’s legal weed market is the fact that, in the majority of provinces, suppliers are unable to meet demand. According to MarketWatch, the complexity of scaling up a national legal cannabis supply chain has left many retailers with just a fraction of the promised products. In many areas, the supply shortage may last well into 2019.

Some experts say the bottleneck exists in the regulatory approval by Health Canada of Licensed Processors and Cultivators. “The cultivation and processing capacity exists, but the lack of licensing is keeping that production off the shelves,” Rob McIntyre, CFO of Salvation Botanicals Ltd., told me. His Canadian extraction and formulation company recently agreed to produce cannabis products for U.S.-based Medical Marijuana, Inc. for the Canadian market.

“Health Canada has added significant resources to attempt to shorten the approval process, but the backlog is significant,” McIntyre explained. “In the coming months, we expect to see this supply shortage ease.”

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