There are many reasons why people support cannabis legalization. For longtime Drug War reformers, keeping nonviolent from unjust and harmful arrests and prison terms top the list. For those that don’t use cannabis, better prioritizing law enforcement resources and capturing tax revenue are a couple of factors. Of course, politicians love creating more jobs and revenue. For casual cannabis consumers, the opportunity to purchase from regulated stores instead of the song and dance that comes with buying from a dealer is a nice perk. However, as the CBC reports, Canadian cannabis users may not want to erase their dealer’s contact info just yet as a supply shortage looms:

“There is not currently enough legal supply of marijuana to actually supply all the recreational demand in Canada,” said economist Rosalie Wyonch of the C.D. Howe Institute, a public policy think-tank.

“We didn’t have enough producers far enough ahead from legalization that they’ll actually be able to deliver enough product to market by the time legalization happens.”

Wyonch has been tallying the inventory numbers licensed producers are required to provide to Health Canada, along with demand forecasts from Statistics Canada and the Parliamentary Budget Officer. She also reviewed the demand patterns in Colorado and Washington after those states legalized recreational cannabis use.

“I don’t see empty shelves manifesting on the first day probably, and not the first month,” she said. “But as the year progresses, what we’ll see is either prices in the legal market will have to rise, or we’ll actually see the supply shortage.”

The likely oncoming cannabis supply shortage in the Great White North provides both pitfalls and opportunities for regulated marijuana businesses (as well as unregulated ones where they will have a window to earn folks’ hard-earned cash). Those that plan well have the chance to capture bigger market share. Producers, processors, and retailers that experience a shortage will certainly suffer from throngs of disappointed shoppers. Those looking to recoup customers could benefit from good marketing and public relations efforts.

While there will be several, if not many, ups and downs for the regulated Canadian cannabis market, overall business will be good and advocates will have time to correct mistakes. Hopefully, Justin Trudeau’s Liberal government and provincial regulators across the nation will learn sooner than later to not overregulate cannabis and unnecessarily burden the burgeoning industry.

Learn the latest about the cannabis industry at the upcoming International Cannabis Business Conference in San Francisco, California, on February 7-8, 2019. Purchase your early-bird tickets by January 18th to save. After San Francisco, the ICBC is scheduled to travel to Barcelona, Spain, and then Berlin, Germany. Stay tuned for future events in Vancouver, Canada, and other cannabis-friendly destinations.