New cannabis seeds are disappearing fast on AGLC’s online store

Green-thumbed Albertans are snapping up a newly legal product that’s finally made its belated debut — cannabis seeds.

But while the province’s Alberta Gaming Liquor Cannabis has been briskly selling its freshly received stock of seeds supplied by marijuana giant Canopy Growth under its Tweed brand, private retailers say they’ve yet to receive them.

“People have been asking about them. They’re frustrated they can’t get seeds right now,” said Raj Birk, owner of Global Leaf at 5401 Temple Dr. N.E.

“There’s a demand for them.”

Though seeds were a product category that theoretically were available when marijuana legalization went into effect last Oct. 17, the AGLC only began receiving them a few days ago, said spokeswoman Chara Goodings.

The order process means stores that have requested them should receive some next week, she said.

In the meantime, one of two seed strains available on the AGLC website were sold out Friday.

“When we’ve got them in, we’ve sold them,” she said.

The seeds are sold in packs of four each, corresponding to the maximum number of pot plants per household legally allowed to Canadians. Those available Tuesday were selling for $60 for each four-seed package.

“The one with the higher THC content has been sold out,” said Goodings.

Retailers have said the more potent strains of cannabis consistently outsells its weaker counterparts.

The AGLC hopes to have more licensed producers delivering seeds to them in the coming weeks, said Goodings, but the small supply of them will likely lead to shortages akin to those plaguing stocks of the finished product.

“Especially when new licensed producers on board, they’ll be just trying to fulfill their contractual obligations to provide pre-rolls and the basic list,” she said.

It’s that same priority among hard-pressed producers since last fall that’s delayed the arrival of seeds, she said.

“Realistically, it was the last thing they were thinking about, they were going to make more money selling bud and oils,” said Goodings.

The AGLC has also said it plans to eventually sell live plants.

For now, Albertans expecting all the seeds they purchase from legal retailers to transform into seedlings could be disappointed, said the AGLC spokeswoman.

“It’s a crap-shoot…. There’s no guarantee each one will sprout and grow,” said Goodings, adding it’s that uncertainty that might have delayed producers supplying them.

“It could be a reputational management issue.”

For now, there’s no plan to lift a November moratorium on AGLC-granted licences for more private cannabis shops, despite a brightening supply situation, she said.

“The supply is getting better, more consistent, but it’s not getting to the point where we can open it up yet,” said Goodings.

Global Leaf’s Birk said his supply has improved.

“It’s better than before but it’s not all there yet. It’s probably going to take a year to get it sorted out,” he said.

The AGLC has granted licences to 65 stores across the province, 20 of them in Calgary.

BKaufmann@postmedia.com

on Twitter: @BillKaufmannjrn

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