Puff Puff Pass Headshop - one of Newfoundland and Labrador’s legal private cannabis retailers - has become the first casualty of Canada's nationwide supply shortage of marijuana.
The store, which announced its closure on Tuesday, was one of just six private cannabis retail locations in Newfoundland and Labrador. In Canada, six provinces and one territory currently allow some form of private retail, though most of them, including Newfoundland and Labrador, operate under strict provincial oversight. That includes a stipulation that Newfoundland’s private stores are only allowed to order from a list of seven producers that have been approved by regulators working in the province's liquor commission. The commission also dictates how much they are able to order and when.
“If those suppliers didn’t have anything, there was no other recourse. There was nowhere we could go and order supply,” Tina Greening - business manager of Puff Puff Pass - said.
So when Canada found itself mired in a nationwide supply cannabis shortage, Puff Puff Pass found itself in an ironic conundrum: overwhelmed by demand for a product that they simply could not supply enough of.
But the supply problem wasn't the only reason why Puff Puff Pass closed its doors. Greening said that many customers were disappointed with the quality of the product, claiming that many of them expect their cannabis to have no less than 20 percent THC, when most of her legal stock maxed out at 11 to 15 percent.
“I’ve had customers say to me personally, '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.'"
Greenberg also said that other private stores have reported similar concerns, which means these issues could cause similar problems for cannabis stores in Newfoundland and Labrador as well as the rest of the country.
h/t Financial Post