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Ganja stores in Canada run out of supplies, more line-ups

Thursday, October 18, 2018

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OTTAWA, Canada (AFP) — Day two of legal recreational cannabis in Canada on Thursday saw more long line-ups outside pot stores and supply shortages in parts of the country.

Most consumers were exuberant about the end of prohibition, but a few expressed disappointment over not being able to buy cannabis on the first day.

Others balked at the relatively high prices — ranging from Can$5.25 (US$4.02) in Quebec to Can$18.99 in Saskatchewan per gram — compared to the black market that saw average prices plunge in the last year to Can$6.79 per gram.

After waiting seven hours in line at a store in downtown Montreal on Wednesday, Alexandre, 30, said he was turned away at closing at 9:00 pm (0100 GMT). Police stepped in to disperse the crowd, without incident.

"It was hell, it was cold," Alexandre said. "But we had fun anyway, talking with people in the crowd and sharing joints."

He was back early Thursday morning to try again.

"Yesterday was the day that everyone was waiting for but I think that little by little the queue will decrease," he said.

In Ontario, Canada's most populated province, 38,000 orders for weed were processed in the first few hours Wednesday (total figures for the day were not yet available), while in neighbouring Quebec 42,000 orders were processed in-store and online, smashing all expectations.

Supply shortages were reported in the provinces of Newfoundland and Saskatchewan, as well as in the Arctic territory of Nunavut.

Several online retailers including the Ontario government's pot portal, meanwhile, warned customers to expect shipping delays of up to five days as they worked late into the night filling orders.

Canada Post workers are also poised to strike starting on Monday after more than a year of contract talks stalled, which could further delay deliveries of online orders.

"We expected, you know, certain strains might run out and there would be a bit of a run on supply," Bill Blair, a former Toronto police chief who is the government's point man for legalisation, told public broadcaster CBC.

"But, you know, they've got a pretty good infrastructure in place and I'm confident it will work," he said.

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