Supply issues blamed as N.L. loses first private, regulated cannabis store

CLARENVILLE, N.L. — A privately-owned cannabis store in Newfoundland is closing, and the manager says supply issues are largely to blame.

Puff Puff Pass Headshop in Clarenville, N.L., is the province’s first private weed store casualty since recreational marijuana was legalized in October.

It is one of just six private, regulated cannabis retailers in Newfoundland and Labrador, and will shut its doors for good on Thursday.

Business manager Tina Greening says retailers in Newfoundland and Labrador are only allowed to purchase from seven licensed producers, picked by the province’s liquor commission.

She said the suppliers provided stores with a “small list” of what they were allowed to order, and even dictated quantities.

The owners of other private, regulated stores in the province have raised similar concerns about supply, and some shops have run out of product routinely.

“If those suppliers didn’t have anything, there was no other recourse. There was nowhere we could go and order supply,” Greening said.

A supply crunch has hampered government-run and private retailers across Canada.

But Greening also said the quality of the product was not to her customers’ standard.

She said they want no less than 20 per cent THC, but the stock she’s getting is maxing out at 11 to 15 per cent.

“I know it’s only been legal since October but in reality my customers have been consuming cannabis for some of them 30, 40 years. They know what they want when they come into my store,” said Greening.

“I’ve had customers say to me personally, you know, this is it, I’ve been in here so many times you guys never have anything that we want, I’m just going back to the black market and I’ll never buy legal again.”

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