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HIGHLIGHTS
  1. Nova places large discount on seven products
  2. Sale aimed at moving less-popular pot strains out of inventory
  3. Customers know store delivery days and quickly buy most popular items

Nova Cannabis has placed a large discount on some of its pot in Alberta, an unexpected move to clear unpopular products out of store vaults at a time that Canada’s supply shortage prevents retailers from fully stocking their shelves.

This price reduction on seven items with THC levels ranging from 9 per cent to 22 per cent is likely the first discount on retail cannabis in the country since legalization in October, though restrictive advertising laws make this difficult to confirm.

On Thursday, the company website showed five relatively high-THC flower strains and two oils on sale for up to 25 per cent off until Feb. 3, and Alcanna Inc. chief executive James Burns said this will expand to a 50 per cent discount on Friday.

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Alcanna owns five Nova Cannabis stores in Alberta.

“It’s a bit of a lab. You’re just making guesses,” Mr. Burns said, about discovering which products sell and which do not in this newly legal industry.

“There’s quite a bit in the warehouses of the products we’ve had trouble getting people interested in.”

The recreational cannabis shortage means retailers are unable to buy the variety and amount of pot that customers seek. Several smaller retailers frequently run out of supplies and temporarily close their doors, while some chain stores have opted to open new outlets selling accessories only as they await a cannabis licence from Alberta Gaming, Liquor and Cannabis, which placed a moratorium on new permits in the province two months ago due to the shortage.

Nova has reduced its daily store operations by two hours. In Newfoundland, Puff Puff Pass Headshop closed this week due to supply issues.

“There are specific products that we have a little more inventory than is justified in terms of the market demand for those products, so we’re trying to reduce our inventory. We have limited space in our vaults for when more comes in,” Mr. Burns said.

“It’s just some stuff that was not moving and is taking up space in the vault. We’re just trying to accelerate that process with a sale.”

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Meanwhile, the more popular items – dried flower containing the highest THC levels, pre-rolls, and CBD oil and capsules – sell out quickly whenever Nova receives deliveries. Last Thursday, the delivery day of one Nova store in Edmonton, there was a line of people waiting “to get the good stuff,” Mr. Burns said.

“They know it’s delivery day,” he said, adding that one store has a waiting list for CBD oil and capsules.

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