Talk about growing pains. The first full year of cannabis legalization in Canada has stumbled badly: the rollout of retail stores has been painfully slow in all provinces except Alberta, and this has created a critical bottleneck for the few producers who managed to get licenses. Most producers are now in a precarious financial position, forced to sit on vast, perishable inventories, their sales constricted by a system criticized for its inefficiency. The result is lineups at cannabis stores, shortages of products on shelves, and high prices. There is also a critical domino effect ─ the illegal market has not been contained by a long shot, so the most important goal of legalization gets a failing grade. Canada’s patchwork of cannabis stores and regulations means the industry is still finding its footing as we enter the next phase of legalization ─ a legal market for edibles and topicals. Our expert roster of Policy Options contributors explains what it will take for legalization to achieve its promise.

Photo: A cannabis grow room at Organigram Inc., a licensed producer in Moncton, New Brunswick. By Organigram Inc.

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