“It’s definitely a challenge to keep up with demand,” said Patrik Jonsson, president of Wakefield-based vertically integrated cannabis company Curaleaf Massachusetts.
Not only is quantity lacking, but the limited supply means less variety of indica, sativa and hybrid strains. Curaleaf Massachusetts buys from other growers to increase its selection for consumers.
“You have to go look for the flower,” Jonsson said.
It could be many months until supply catches up. Cannabis executives in the state are predicting more retail stores will open their doors with or without enough flower to sell, increasing access and fueling demand.
But that process could take months. According to MassLive, the average wait time for initial license review by the state’s Cannabis Control Commission is 121 days, which has prompted the industry to ask the regulators to speed up the process.
As of late February, the commission had licensed 246 marijuana establishments, including 72 cultivators, and had opened 92 marijuana establishments, including 37 retail stores, according to MassLive.
“We still haven’t reached that critical threshold where supply has met demand,” Winstanley said.
For example, some of the more urban areas have yet to see a substantial retail presence, which could drive sales.
“We have yet to see the true level of demand from the greater Boston area,” said Jen Drake, chief operating officer for Ayr Strategies, a vertically integrated cannabis company with headquarters in Toronto and operations in Massachusetts.
Drake said her company sells everything it produces each month and could sell twice as much.
Massachusetts regulators approved a business license for the first recreational cannabis store in Boston last month.
Andrew Livingston, director of economics and research at Denver-based cannabis law firm Vicente Sederberg, said the pace of licensing for both cultivation and retail facilities has been similar for both sectors – that is, slow.