Retail cannabis won’t be available in time for Christmas in Cochrane due to a national cannabis shortage.
The Alberta Gaming Liquor Cannabis commission (AGLC) states on its website that “as a result of the national cannabis supply shortage, AGLC has made the decision to temporarily suspend accepting applications and issuing any additional cannabis retail licences until further notice.”
Adam Nordquist, planner for the Town of Cochrane, confirmed the town has approved three development permit applications for cannabis retailers: 410 1st Street West (Spirit Leaf); 31 Bow Street Common (Plantlife Canada); and 315 1st Street East (Pot of Gold).
There is around two weeks left for the appeals period – where community members or businesses with concerns or objections can come forward with their concerns.
Heather Homen, AGLC spokesperson, said the regulatory body made the decision to pause the licensing or acceptance of new applications based on the rationale to not over saturate the market until more licensed producers come online and are able to keep up with demand.
While exact timelines could not be given, Homen did say that AGLC foresees the temporary delay in the licensing phase extending into months, rather than weeks.
“For right now, we have 65 retailers in the province of Alberta with limited supply,” she said, explaining that stores have had to close early due to bare shelves.
There are currently 15 licensed producers for Alberta, all inspected and obligated to meet the standards set forth by Health Canada.
As more licensed producers come online, Homen said the AGLC is “having conversations” with them, as well as existing licensed producers to ensure supply needs can be met.
According to Hormen, failure to meet supply could be a result of a number of issues including bad crops or operations issues.
Homen said those frustrated with the stalled process and supply shortage should be mindful that any new industries face growing pains.
“It’s a brand new industry … there are a lot of variables and I think a lot can be chalked up to new industry issues.”
Nordquist said the town also rejected two other cannabis retail applications, based on their failure to meet the 150-metre setbacks from other approved cannabis retailers.
While these appeals will be heard by the Subdivision and Development Appeals Board, council has directed no setback variances be given with respect to cannabis retailers.
Council approved the 150-metre setbacks in a Land Use Bylaw amendment to address cannabis retailers. The setbacks apply to any sensitive spaces, including those frequented by minors or health care facilities, as well as from other cannabis retailers to avoid “clustering.”
The Cochrane Eagle reached out to all three potential Cochrane cannabis retailers but was unable to connect by deadline.
For more, visit aglc.ca.
Full story is available here.