Strike at Distribution Centers Could Lead to Shortages at British Columbia Pot Shops

Workers at British Columbia’s only wholesaler and distributor of regulated cannabis products went on strike this week, and legal cannabis outlets across the province are on fire to ensure they have enough product to stay open. Workers from the British Columbia General Employers’ Union (BCGEU), which represents about 33,000 service industry employees, opened picket lines Monday at four distribution centers run by the British Columbia Liquor Distribution Branch (BCLDB). and tried to get higher wages out of their income. Employer.

On Wednesday, BCLDB said its cannabis distribution centers would be temporarily taking orders, fulfilling orders, processing invoices, and shipping goods to state-licensed retailers due to labor action. announced that it will no longer be possible.

“We sincerely apologize for this disruption and the impact on your business.” Written by Distributor In a statement to the store posted on its website.

State officials are working on plans to allow cannabis retailers to receive deliveries directly from licensed growers. However, until the plan goes into effect, BCLBD will be the sole wholesaler and distributor of state weed dispensaries.

“BC’s Liquor Distribution Department is aware that the professional actions currently being taken by the BC General Workers’ Union may have implications for our wholesale and retail customers.” The distributor said in a statement. Cited by CBCIt also adds that the BC Cannabis Stores website is also unable to fulfill or deliver customer orders.

“Because we do not know the extent of future work behavior, we cannot make assumptions about the inventory levels held by our wholesale customers or their demand and buying behavior in this dynamic environment,” the distributor added. rice field.

Strikes could lead to shortages and store closures

Cannabis retailers in British Columbia have to speculate about the impact of the distribution center strike on their business. ‘s Canna Cabana store chain is facing an imminent shortage, he said, adding it could have long-term effects on the regulated cannabis industry.

“For the time being, we are managing the situation by redistributing inventory among our stores in British Columbia, but we may face inventory issues if job actions are not resolved within the next 10 days.” Mr Khan said. “We urge the BCLDB and BCGEU to resolve the dispute as soon as possible, as the lack of inventory in licensed cannabis stores risks returning consumers to the illegal market. would endanger public health and alienate much-needed revenue from the government’s coffers.”

Other retailers fear the strike will force them to close stores until labor disputes are resolved.

“If it lasts longer than two weeks, we’re probably considering closing the store because there’s nothing to sell,” said Jacob Michalow, assistant general manager of Marigold Cannabis in Vancouver.

Vikram Sachdeva estimated that his chain of Seed and Stone stores currently has a sufficient supply of the product, but said the situation could change if the strike was prolonged.

“I think we can survive for a week or more, but beyond that it’s going to be very difficult,” Sachdeva said, adding that he hoped retailers would be more informed about labor practices.

“It was a bit of a shock, and … the concern now is how long will it take before they start delivering to us so we don’t start running out of product?” he said. Said.

Sachdeva said he fears he will have to turn down customers when the product runs out, and that medical marijuana patients will find it difficult to obtain the drug. also expressed concern that customers disappointed by the lack of regulated cannabis would turn to illegal markets instead.

Jacqueline Pehota, executive director of the Canadian Cannabis Retailers Association, said bars and restaurants could better cope with the strike because they could buy product from private wineries and craft breweries even if they weren’t able to pick it up from distribution centers. said. .

“That’s what we’re asking the government to investigate,” Pejota said. “We want similar diversity in the cannabis retail supply chain.”

BC Farmers Craft Co-op secretary David Hurford agreed, saying many consumers across the state could find sources of illegal cannabis if licensed dispensaries ran out of goods. .

“We fully respect the union’s right to take this action, but it is up to the government to develop a contingency plan.” Harford said.

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