Nova Scotia pushing Health Canada over cannabis shortage: minister

Health Canada will be getting another letter from Nova Scotia’s justice minister over concerns about a growing shortage of cannabis.

Karen Casey said Thursday Nova Scotia is getting only 35 to 40 per cent of the cannabis it needs to meet demand at government-run outlets and she wants to make that clear to the federal regulator after two previous letters.

“Supply is an issue all across Canada,” said Casey. “We’re concerned that our supply is not meeting the demand.”

She said one Nova Scotia producer has been approved by Ottawa and two more are ready to go but need to be licensed.

“We are encouraging Health Canada to give them the approval they need so that will add to the supply that we have.”

Casey said there has been no need yet to close any of the 12 shops run by the Nova Scotia Liquor Corporation (NSLC) because of product shortages, but the situation is being monitored.

Spokeswoman Beverley Ware said the liquor corporation’s supply currently comes from 16 licensed producers based in Nova Scotia, P.E.I., New Brunswick, Ontario and Alberta.

“We are telling our customers that they should expect product shortages due to these Canada-wide inventory issues and also they should expect longer than expected lineups in our stores as we are leading into the Christmas season,” said Ware.

She said the NSLC isn’t ruling out store closures, although none are planned in the short term.

“If we aren’t able to provide customers with the variety of products in a particular store then it is possible that we will be looking at some closures,” she said.

Meanwhile, Casey said she and her provincial counterparts made their concerns known to federal Finance Minister Bill Morneau during a meeting in Ottawa this week.

“We will copy Minister Morneau on the next letter,” Casey said.

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