26 new retail cannabis licenses granted in Alberta

By Jessie Weisner
April 18, 2019 - 4:56pm Updated: April 18, 2019 - 6:59pm

 

MEDICINE HAT, AB -- Alberta Gaming, Liquor and Cannabis (AGLC) sent out a letter to cannabis retailers on Thursday, saying they’ll be issuing 26 new cannabis retail licenses.

According to one local retailer, four of those are in Medicine Hat. Keith Ahlm, owner of Westside Weed, said he spoke with the AGLC Thursday morning.

“I’ve heard Medicine Hat is going to have four stores with new sales approval,” says Ahlm.

The governing body put a moratorium on on new licenses in January because of low stock, but according to the letter, a ‘modest increase’ in cannabis inventory was enough to raise the number of licenses to 101.

“Since issuing 10 additional retail licences in January of this year we have seen a modest increase in cannabis inventory available to retailers,” reads the letter. “The increase has been enough for us to issue 26 additional retail licences.”

However, local business disagree. They say the amount of inventory won’t be enough to maintain 101 stores.

“I don’t agree with it, we get an ordering sheet every week and it’s really not that much stock, the high demand product we’re getting enough to supply three, four people.” says Ahlm. “I don’t see all the businesses surviving, but there’s nothing I can do about that.”

“It’s a little disappointing to hear actually,” says Jasper Williams, sales associate at The Green Exchange. “We haven’t seen a great increase in our stock or things like that so we’re worried about some new stores opening and what we’ll see for what we can get in store.”

Medicine Hat has roughly 20 vacant cannabis stores, and it’s unknown which of them have been granted licenses.

One vacant store is New Leaf Cannabis on Trans Canada way.

Matt Ryan, vice president of marketing for New Leaf Cannabis’s parent company, National Access Cannabis, says it’s been tough sitting vacant.

“It is difficult to have been ready with a store, have been ready to hire staff and you know have to put that on hold,” he said.

If New Leaf isn’t receiving one of the 26 licenses, it may have to wait a while longer.

“While AGLC’s inventory levels have seen improvement, it is not stable enough to fully open the licensing process or accept new retail cannabis applications,” reads AGLC’s letter. “AGLC continues to scour the country looking for additional product”

When asked for more information, the AGLC said it wasn’t speaking to media.

It’s unknown when more information will be released.
 

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