Cannabis products run short in supply due to COVID-19

Published May 16, 2020 11:00 a.m. ET
iStock / Maridav

If you’ve tried to place an order at a dispensary with a certain product in mind over the last month, then chances are quite high that you were left disappointed. This is a common theme that seems to be happening all over the world, as cannabis producers and vendors struggle to keep up to demand while traversing a new world that has been slowed by the presence of COVID-19.

Are some cannabis products more impacted?

All cannabis products seem to be affected, but there are a few in particular that are getting hit harder than the rest, and the majority of them are part of what was supposed to be the next level of legalization. Cannabis vaporizers, seeds, edibles, vape juice, and other potent cannabis goods are all getting more difficult to find by the day, and it’s not like they were easy to access before COVID-19 hit. So, the problem has only been further exacerbated rather than solely created by mass shutdowns.

Why is this happening?

There are a lot of facts to consider when it comes to the lack of supply at almost every dispensary across the US and Canada, but the biggest thing is the trouble with getting around. Though all cannabis products sold in these regions are grown or created within the confines of their shut down borders, it is increasingly difficult to move large shipments from one area to another in either country, slowing delivery times by days and even weeks in some cases.

Another thing that is throwing off the carefully balanced cannabis industry is the fact that so many more people are now seeking legal and local means of buying weed. Now that few packages are making it across the provinces or states, buying online is inefficient, and cannabis enthusiasts are looking for the most reliable ways to stock up on everything they need, which has led to irregular buying patterns.

Not only are people buying more, but they’re also shopping outside of their typical vendors, putting additional stress on an already troubled system. This might sound like the perfect time for cannabis producers to up their game, by adding additional shipments to already present orders, but this flood of new sales isn’t necessarily something that is expected to last, so most are unsure of whether or not it’s worth the cost of rearranging plans.

Even if they did want to increase production, to swoop in and grab up the sales at a time when most businesses are desperate for customers, it would be nearly impossible to do, because even though much of the world is currently out of work, due to massive shutdowns, most are way too scared to go rushing out for a new job if they don’t have to. This means less qualified applicants, more risk to hire them, and an unreliable workforce at best.


The last and perhaps, most influential issue on the cannabis market that we have access to today is the fact that cannabis companies no longer have any way to build up a consumer base. Now that industry shows, festivals, and other big cannabis events all over the world have been canceled or postponed, many companies have decided that they’re going to wait to release their hot new products, for when they have better opportunities to market themselves.

Is every cannabis dispensary impacted?

Pretty much every cannabis dispensary in the world right now is experiencing a shortage of one product or another, so it really doesn’t matter what dispensary you choose. Both the average recreational dispensary and focused medicinal vendors are suffering through the shortages of various cannabis products. Black market dispensaries that rely on out of province or state vendors are even more impacted by this change, so no one is immune to the dreaded fall out of COVID-19.

Is it going to get worse?

Right now, the situation may look a little bit bleak, but this rush of change is something that is going to take every industry a while to recover from. So, don’t lose hope just yet, once this virus finally loosens, its grasp on society and things start to return to normal, the flow of enticing and exotic cannabis products is sure to start flowing back to dispensaries. We just have to wait out this unfortunate storm and continue to support our local cannabis products.

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