Quebec cannabis stores already short on supply a day after legalization

Quebec's government-run cannabis agency, the Société québécoise du cannabis (SQDC), has issued a tally of its first day of sales: some 42,000 transactions, many more than expected.

Thousands of Quebecers spent hours in the chilly autumn weather lined up outside the SQDC's 12 outlets, making 12,500 purchases. The rest were made online.

The SQDC is not releasing how much money those sales amount to.

"It was difficult to accurately anticipate the volume, given the lack of data for a market that was, 48 hours ago, still illegal," the agency said in a news release. 

"The volume largely surpasses the SQDC's predictions but also demonstrates the robustness of its systems."

The SQDC said customers made 450,000 visits to the agency's website, which was able to sustain the online traffic without crashing.

Some oils, pills, sprays, pre-rolled joints sold out

The agency is warning customers they could face an extra wait of five or more days on online orders because of the volume of sales, as well as the risk of a Canada Post strike in the coming days.

The SQDC says it still has to take a detailed count of its stock, but there could be serious shortages in the short term. It attributes the potential shortages to "the hype created by legalization and the scarcity in products across Canada."

Some of the products that sold out Wednesday include oils, pills, sprays and pre-rolled joints. 

SQDC spokesperson Mathieu Gaudrault said more products will be ordered Friday, but  stores could see a delay in receiving them.

Another day, another lineup 

Ryan Remiorz/Canadian Press

Some people lined up for four hours Wednesday, the SQDC said, and many had to be turned away when the stores closed Wednesday evening.

That prompted complaints outside the store on Ste-Catherine Street in downtown Montreal, and police had to be called to tell people to disperse.

But the lineups were back early Thursday morning: outside the Ste-Catherine outlet, a dozen people were spotted waiting for the store to open at 10 a.m.