An Ottawa pot shop is being forced to significantly reduce its hours because it’s consistently running out of cannabis and says the province won’t allow it to increase its order.
The Hobo Recreational Cannabis Store on Bank Street, which was operating seven days a week for 14 hours a day, will now close early on Tuesdays and entirely on Wednesdays.
It will open again on Thursdays at 6 p.m. after its weekly delivery arrives.
The Hobo Recreational Cannabis Store on Bank Street will now close on Tuesdays and reopen on Thursdays instead of operating seven days a week. (Lorian Belanger/Radio-Canada)
“We’ve been running out of cannabis for a few weeks now,” said Harrison Stoker, vice-president of brand and culture for the Donnelly Group, the store’s parent company.
“We probably really should have been a little bit more proactive, but I think we were hoping that maybe [the demand for pot] would be a little more like a roller coaster with some ups and downs. But we definitely see some consistency in demand at this point.”
Stoker said the province limits how much cannabis a store can order to 25 kilograms per week. Hobo makes an average of 1,400 transactions a day, he said, and they usually sell out by Tuesday.
“We would take twice as much in a heartbeat, absolutely, because we’ve got the demand,” Stoker said.
“But we’re being good partners and neighbours on this one so we are [accepting] the policy that’s been set.”
Cannabis on display on the opening day of the Hobo Recreational Cannabis Store on Bank Street. (Lorian Belanger/Radio-Canada)
Customers being turned away at the door
Stoker said while they won’t lay off any Hobo employees because of the closures, some may face a reduction in hours.
“We’re going to work through it,” he said.
Customers shopping for pot Wednesday were greeted at the door by employees informing them of the new opening times.
Stoker said they’re in conversation with the provincial cannabis regulating bodies, and while they hope the supply will increase, they know it’s going to take time.
“It’s a great relationship, it’s very collaborative. I think we just need to, sort of, weather a couple of storms to kind of push through this next evolution of the industry,” said Stoker.
In a statement to CBC, Ontario Cannabis Store (OCS) said it continues to work with its 37 federally licensed producer suppliers to secure enough cannabis.
“Given the national shortage of cannabis, OCS will continue to monitor the supply situation and may make adjustments as required to better support sales trends that are emerging,” the statement said.