Quebec cannabis dispensaries are finally open every day

Published Jun 1, 2019 10:49 a.m. ET
Photo by O-seop Sim from Pexels

When legal marijuana was officially announced in Canada, cannabis enthusiasts rejoiced at the opportunity to purchase products from regulated and licensed facilities without fear of repercussions. What many did not expect was the incredibly slow roll out that would occur, causing thousands of potential customers to return to the black market. This issue happened right across Canada, with almost every single marijuana dispensary facing a massive shortage of product from licensed producers.

Though the federal government cited issues stemming from the producer’s failure to provide as promised, the truth is that there were never enough contracts in place to supply the incredibly high demand from Canadian consumers. However, that did not mean that the world was facing a shortage, as the underground cannabis market continued to thrive, as proven by the presence of more than one illegal marijuana dispensary for every city in the country.

On October 17 in 2018, legal marijuana dispensaries opened right across the country, but it took mere hours for most customers to realize that there would be serious issues moving forward. Ontario’s online store was closed almost as quickly as it opened, and storefronts in Quebec were among the first to announce massively reduced opening hours and product line ups. Within the first week of public sales, the few marijuana dispensary locations across Quebec announced they would no longer be open full time. They would only be able to service customers for three partial days per week.

The cannabis dispensaries in Quebec are governed by the Société Quebecoise du Cannabis (AKA SQDC), who had initially promised that the incredibly restrictive hours would be short-lived, and that regular service would return to normal by April

Quebecois waited in anticipation as the date came, and then went while seeing little to no progress in the way of fair and equal access to legal marijuana for Canadians in the region. Though the dispensaries did eventually extend hours to cover a portion of three days per week, many potential customers were relieved to hear that things were picking up and hours would be extended by the middle of May.

All the SQDC locations are now up and running from Monday to Friday 10 am to 9 pm and weekends 10 am to 5 pm. This is fantastic news for all the residents in Quebec who have been waiting far too long for access to legal marijuana. Luckily, this shift took place in time for marijuana edibles to be introduced in October of 2019. The biggest issue that will be faced now is the black-market competition which has by this point been solidified as an essential service with loyal customers and much more competitive price points.

Only time will tell for sure how the future of the cannabis industry in Canada will play out. For now, at least, it appears that most Canadians have access to legal marijuana that is regulated and grown by licensed producers, which is good news considering legalization took place nearly six months ago. Now consumers can focus on the aspects of the market that need to change, like adding marijuana edibles, tinctures, and other cannabis concentrates and products to the list of approved items, because without those types of considerations and adjustments, the future isn’t looking too bright for government owned marijuana dispensaries.

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