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HIGHLIGHTS
  1. Edibles and vapes expected to be first Cannabis 2.0 products available in Alberta by January
  2. AGLC plans to be ‘cautious’ in the way it orders new pot products
  3. AGLC expected to grant total as much as 400 cannabis retail licences by October, 2020

Alberta supplies of newly legalized pot products like edibles and concentrated vape extracts are expected to be “limited to start with” in January, as licensed producers (LPs) are likely to roll out their Cannabis 2.0 items slowly while they assess consumer demand, Alberta Gaming, Liquor and Cannabis (AGLC) said.

“We’re waiting to see the exact quantities of what will be available. We believe it will be limited to start with. Retailers can expect to not have a lot to start with potentially but it will improve in the coming months,” said Dave Berry, vice-president of Regulatory Services for AGLC.

“We’ll be cautious. We don’t want to order too much of something that won’t move. Given that we expect supply to be limited, we will bring in what we can.”

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Concentrated cannabis products were legalized for recreational use in Canada last week, but the new items are not expected to reach licensed retail shelves until January at the earliest as they first need to be approved by Health Canada and then transported across the country. The new cannabis products, which will range from chocolates to vape pens to topicals, are widely expected to increase revenues of LPs and retailers alike as they will appeal to new consumers and provide another avenue on which to compete with the black market.

Investors have lowered price targets for several pot companies as the number of licensed store openings across the country has so far been smaller than expected and, consequently, impeded growth in the nascent industry.

The expectation for slower product launches in Alberta, which has issued more than 300 retail licences that account for roughly 40 per cent of Canada’s legal pot shops, comes just a few months after supplies increased enough to maintain adequate inventories on provincial store shelves. Tight supplies in late-2018 caused the AGLC to place a six-month moratorium on new retail licences. That restriction was lifted in May.

Vaping and edible products are most likely to be the first of the new products available in January, Mr. Berry said.

“We’re being cautious on speculating how much will be available. It remains to be seen exactly what people will like although there’s some speculation there will be edibles for sure,” he said, adding that AGLC does not have visibility into the specific products that LPs have sent into Health Canada for approval.

“Similar to our first roll-out with dried flower and oils, we will listen to what advice we get from LPs as well. Our business team will make its own determination for what people may want. We’ll be cautious on our ordering lines.”

Unlike in late-2018, when recreational cannabis was legalized and a national supply shortage left many shelves bare and even caused store operators to shorten opening hours, retailers will have dried flower, oils and capsules to sell while they await the new cannabis products.

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Alberta is expected to continue granting retail cannabis licences, with Mr. Berry estimating the province will have a total of 350 to 400 licensed retail stores by October, 2020. This will mark a stark slow-down in licences, with AGLC having granted 307 permits as of Oct. 21, 2019.

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