After more than a month following the legalization of cannabis in Canada, many observations can be made. The cannabis shortage affecting many of the SQDC branches have forced the government to reduce store hours. The bold intentions of reducing the reach of the black market and increasing the quality of the distributed substances have been stonewalled by reality.
Wednesday, October 17, 2018, at 10:00, was the first day that the SQDC (Société Québécoise De Cannabis) opened their doors. Hundreds of people gathered at dawn, patiently waiting for the first recreational cannabis stores to open. The lines became so long that it took some up to 4 hours to set foot inside a store. The numbers published with respect to the first day of business were astonishing: no less than 42,000 orders placed within the first 24 hours. The world watched wide-eyed eager to witness the general euphoria brought forth by the legalization of cannabis, which surpassed all expectations. The SQDC was an incredible success.
And then, it all came to a stop. The stores were unprepared for the demand, which forced them to drastically reduce business hours. Online orders dropped and many clients returned to their illicit suppliers. The demise of the black market was a key argument in the fight for legalization. But how can one compete with illicit suppliers that undercut prices and deliver the product right to your door after being contacted by a simple text message? The answer is simple: You can’t.
A recent survey performed by Ipsos for the Global News outlet revealed that in the two weeks following legalization, almost 35% of cannabis users went back to their illicit suppliers. The supply issues, the higher prices in addition to the wait times were without a doubt what pushed some people back to using their illicit suppliers. If 1 in 3 Canadians uses back-alley cannabis suppliers, we must question the consequences of our actions. Cannabis is, by a long shot, the most-consumed drug in Canada. According to Statistics Canada, in the previous year, almost 4.2 million Canadians, 15 years of age and older admitted to having consumed cannabis.
In addition, almost 15% of the total population of Canada consumes cannabis. These numbers, as harmless as they seem, do not illustrate the problems related to consumption. Thanks to the Ipsos survey, we note that legalization has not enabled us to resolve one of the biggest issues: controlling the active substance in cannabis. (Read: evolution of drugs, higher, bigger, stronger.) To be continued.
 Source: Statistics Canada, Prévalence de la consommation de cannabis au Canada, 2018-10-11.