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Q&A: Lifting cannabis licensing moratorium

May 30, 2019

Why is the moratorium being lifted now?

After seeing modest but steady improvement in the province’s cannabis inventory since April 2019, AGLC will lift the moratorium on accepting and issuing retail cannabis licences. 

When does AGLC foresee the end of the Alberta cannabis supply shortage?

Although the product shipments received over the past three months have increased steadily, licensed producers cannot guarantee this will continue or be sustainable. AGLC expects supply to continue to improve over the following months, but will continue to monitor and follow-up with licensed producers to deliver on their commitments.

AGLC has contracts with 26 federally licensed producers and is in conversations with others as they become licensed. AGLC will work with any federally licensed producers that meet our regulatory requirements. 

Had AGLC not previously estimated the supply shortage could last anywhere from six to 18 months?

Yes, licensed producers had provided AGLC with a wide-ranging timeline as to when they thought the shortage would last when the moratorium was implemented in November. Fortunately, stock has increased and stabilized.

Is there enough cannabis for all retailers?

Now that the moratorium is lifted, AGLC will continue to monitor supply to ensure that retailers continue to receive adequate inventory. As the supply of legal cannabis stabilizes, retailers can expect to see increased inventory. Should the stability of inventory take a downturn, AGLC will evaluate reinstating the moratorium.

Will all approved retailers waiting for a licence receive them all at once?

AGLC will issue five retail cannabis licences per week. Issuing five per week allows for monitoring of supply to ensure it remains consistent for all retailers, existing and new. Since each retailer and its onboarding process is unique, the length of time it takes to complete the onboarding process will vary. 

How will the order of issuance be determined for approved retailers that are currently in the queue?

AGLC has maintained a queue of approved retailers on a first-in, first-out basis to ensure an equitable process as the moratorium is lifted. As per this process, retail location is not a deciding factor in determining which applicants receive a licence.

How many applicants are waiting for their licence and how many are still in the approval process?

As of May 29, 2019, AGLC had 443 applicants representing 473 pending applications (locations); 110 applications have been withdrawn since the temporary hold on issuing new licences was implemented; and 115 applications have been approved and are waiting for a licence.