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‘It’s a mess’: Pot shop owners say Alberta is running out of weed

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After four days of lineups at pot shops across Alberta, some store owners say there’s not enough weed left to keep their doors open and they’re struggling to order more.

In the meanwhile, the Alberta Gaming, Liquor and Cannabis Commission has granted 14 more retail cannabis store licenses since Wednesday, bringing the total number to 31 — the most of anywhere in Canada. 

The problem of cannabis shortages has hit other Canadian provinces along with Alberta, leading pot store owners and government-run distributors scrambling.

In Alberta, a shortage of stock on the AGLC’s retailer website means some new stores aren’t able to order any cannabis at all to stock their shelves, and those that have run out can’t order enough to restock.

The AGLC is the province’s official supplier of cannabis, offering products from 15 licensed producers.

In Edmonton, Numo Cannabis has closed its doors after running out of weed, according to a sign on its door. Another Edmonton store, Alternative Greens, was also closed Saturday after running out of cannabis.

Numo Cannabis in Edmonton is one of several Alberta pot shops that has had to close its door temporarily because it ran out of cannabis. (CBC/Anna McMillan)

‘It was a gong show’

Pot shops can order more stock from the AGLC once a week. But Patrick Wallace, owner of Waldo’s 420 Store in Medicine Hat, says there’s basically nothing left to order.

His store was one of the 17 stores granted licensing to open on legalization day, when he says he sold 33 per cent of his stock — worth about $26,000.

« It was a gong show in here, » he said.

Wallace was able to preorder cannabis from the AGLC in September. Three hundred items were supposed to be listed on the province’s website but instead, Wallace said he found only 70 items to choose from, and from the 50 he ordered, he was not able to get the quantities he asked for.

On Wednesday, he tried to order more. He says his order from the AGLC is expected to arrive next Friday. He expects to completely sell out by then, and will keep the doors open to sell accessories.

On Saturday, he said there were 93 products listed on the AGLC’s website for retailers. Of those, only three CBD products were in stock and available to order.

Wallace says he’s not sure how any of the newly-licensed stores will be able to order any cannabis.

« It’s a mess. The supply is just a mess, » he said.

If supply issues are plaguing the first 17 stores, Wallace said he’s concerned what will happen once the 250 stores the AGLC expects to licence open in the next year.

« They should have worked on the supply before they legalized it. They needed a lot more supply, » he said.

Alcanna CEO James Burns said the Nova Cannabis stores ordered a « very, very large amount » of product to last the first few weeks of legalization. (CBC/Scott Neufeld)

Demand exceeded expectations, AGLC says

Karen Barry, the founder of Beltline Cannabis in Calgary, has all her staffing and licensing in place. But she can’t open her store because she can’t get any cannabis.

Barry says she was given access to order product from the AGLC’s retailer website on Friday morning. She found there wasn’t enough cannabis available to stock a store — the vast majority of product available to retailers was sold out.

Now, she doesn’t expect to open until Nov. 1.

« We were on the website, but there is nothing on the website. There is no product, » she said. « I’m sure the AGLC is working hard to remedy the problem.

« This is just a growing pain that we’re experiencing in the whole industry. »

There is nothing on the website. There is no product.– Karen Barry, founder of Beltline Cannabis in Calgary

Some stores remain stocked to certain extents. Amy Kaur, a manager at Edmonton’s Cannabis House, said Saturday morning the store is well stocked, with only about five products sold out.

Nova Cannabis in south Edmonton remained open on Saturday, with lineups snaking around the block. 

James Burns, CEO of Alcanna Inc., the parent company of Nova Cannabis, said the store still has cannabis in stock because it ordered a « very, very large amount. »

« We had the funds available and we placed the biggest order we could possibly place, » he said. 

Burns said they still didn’t get everything they wanted — they ordered enough cannabis to last the first few weeks, but they received less than half. Burns nevertheless expects most of the Nova Cannabis stores will continue to have product throughout the week.

Some products at Nova Cannabis are sold out. (CBC/Scott Neufeld)

AGLC spokeswoman Heather Holmen acknowledged maintaining supply has been an issue. She said the AGLC is working to stock the full 300 items, but demand has so far exceeded their expectations.

She could not confirm the current amount of product available online for retailers to order, but said more stock will become available throughout the weekend. She could not provide a timeline on when all products would be back in stock.

« It’s day four of legalization … and nobody has all the answers right now, » she said. 

She said the AGLC did its best to prepare to meet that demand, but there have been Canada-wide supply issues beyond their control. Canadians haven’t bought up all the cannabis, she said. The issue has more to do with logistics. 

« The legalization process has happened quite quickly when you think of the scope of the undertaking nationally, and unfortunately I think there have been some time constraints as a result of legalization coming into force to quickly, » she said. 

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Anglais

Nostalgia and much more with Starburst XXXtreme

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Get a taste of adventure with Starburst XXXtreme based on the legendary NetEnt Game. The nostalgic themes are sure to capture fans of the classic version as they get treated to higher intensity, better visuals, and features. The most significant element of the game is its volatility. Patience will not be an essential virtue considering the insane gameplay, and there is a lot of win potential involved. It retains the original makeup of the previous game while adding a healthy dose of adrenaline. 

Starburst Visuals and Symbols

The game is definitely more conspicuous than before. The setting happens over a 5-reel, 3-row game grid with nine fixed win lines, which function if a succession from the left to the right reel is present. Only those players that that attain the highest win per bet line are paid. From a visual standpoint, the Starburst XXXtreme slots illustrates lightning effects behind the reels, which is not surprising as it is inherited from the original version. Available themes include Classic, Jewels, and Space. The game is also available in both desktop and mobile versions, which is advantageous for players considering the global pandemic. According to Techguide, American gamers are increasingly having more engaging gaming experiences to socialize to fill the gap of in-person interaction. Starburst XXXtreme allows them to fill the social void at a time when there is so much time to be had indoors. 

Starburst XXXTreme Features

Players get to alternate on three features which are Starburst Wilds, XXXtreme Spins, and Random Wilds. The first appears on reels 2,3, or 4. When these land, they expand to cover all positions while also calculating the wins. They are also locked for a respin. If a new one hits, it also becomes locked while awarding another respin. Starburst XXXtreme offers a choice between two scenarios for a higher stake. In one scenario with a ten times stake, the Starburst Wild is set on random on reels 2,3, or 4, and a multiplier starts the respin. The second scenario, which has a 95 times stake, starts with two guaranteed starburst wilds on reels 2,3, or 4. it also plays out using respin game sequence and features. The game also increases the potential with the Random Wilds feature to add Starburst Wilds to a vacant reel at the end of a spin. Every Starburst Wild gives a random multiplier with potential wins of x2, x3, x5, x10, x25, x50, x100, or even x150.

The new feature is sure to be a big hit with the gaming market as online gambling has shown significant growth during the lockdown. AdAge indicates the current casino customer base is an estimated one in five Americans, so Starburst XXXtreme’s additional features will achieve considerable popularity. 

What We Think About The Game

The gambling market has continued to diversify post-pandemic, so it is one of the most opportune times to release an online casino-based game. Thankfully Starburst XXXtreme features eye-catching visuals, including the jewels and space themes. These attract audience participation and make the gameplay inviting. The game also has a nostalgic edge. The previous NetEnt iteration featured similar visuals and gameplay, so the audience has some familiarity with it. The producers have revamped this version by tweaking the features to improve the volatility and engagement. 

That is characterized by the potential win cap of 200,000 times the bet. Starburst XXXtreme does not just give betting alternatives for players that want to go big. The increase of multipliers also provides a great experience. If the respins in the previous version were great, knowing that multipliers can go hundreds of times overtakes the game to a new level. 

Players should get excited about this offering. All of the features can be triggered within a single spin. Whether one plays the standard game or takes the XXXtreme spin route, it is possible to activate all of the features. Of course, the potential 200,000 times potential is a huge carrot. However, the bet size is probably going to be restricted and vary depending on the casino. It is also worth pointing out that a malfunction during the gameplay will void all of the payouts and progress. Overall, the game itself has been designed to provide a capped win of 200,000 times the original bet. 

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Anglais

‘We’re back’: Montreal festival promoters happy to return but looking to next year

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In downtown Montreal, it’s festival season.

In the city’s entertainment district, a musical act was conducting a sound check on stage Friday evening — the second day of the French-language version of the renowned Just For Laughs comedy festival. Tickets for many of the festival’s free outdoor shows — limited by COVID-19 regulations — were sold out.

Two blocks away, more than 100 people were watching an acoustic performance by the Isaac Neto Trio — part of the last weekend of the Festival International Nuits d’Afrique, a celebration of music from the African continent and the African diaspora.

With COVID-19 restrictions continuing to limit capacity, festival organizers say they’re glad to be back but looking forward to next year when they hope border restrictions and capacity limits won’t affect their plans.

Charles Décarie, Just For Laughs’ CEO and president, said this is a “transition year.”

“Even though we have major constraints from the public health group in Montreal, we’ve managed to design a festival that can navigate through those constraints,” Décarie said.

The French-language Juste pour rire festival began on July 15 and is followed by the English-language festival until July 31.

When planning began in February and March, Décarie said, organizers came up with a variety of scenarios for different crowd sizes, ranging from no spectators to 50 per cent of usual capacity.

“You’ve got to build scenarios,” he said. “You do have to plan a little bit more than usual because you have to have alternatives.”

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Anglais

MELS new major movie studio to be built in Montreal

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MONTREAL — MELS Studios will build a new film studio in Montreal, filling some of the gap in supply to meet the demand of Hollywood productions.

MELS president Martin Carrier said on Friday that MELS 4 studio construction will begin « as soon as possible », either in the fall or winter of next year. The studio could host productions as early as spring 2023.

The total investment for the project is $76 million, with the Quebec government contributing a $25 million loan. The project will create 110 jobs, according to the company.

The TVA Group subsidiary’s project will enable it to stand out « even more » internationally, according to Quebecor president and CEO Pierre Karl Péladeau. In the past, MELS Studios has hosted several major productions, including chapters of the X-Men franchise. The next Transformers movie is shooting this summer in Montreal.

Péladeau insisted that local cultural productions would also benefit from the new facility, adding that the studio ensures foreign revenues and to showcase talent and maintain an industry of Quebec producers.

STUDIO SHORTAGE

The film industry is cramped in Montreal.

According to a report published last May by the Bureau du cinéma et de la télévision du Québec (BCTQ), there is a shortage of nearly 400,000 square feet of studio space.

With the addition of MELS 4, which will be 160,000 square feet, the company is filling part of the gap.

Carrier admitted that he has had to turn down contracts because of the lack of space, representing missed opportunities of « tens of millions of dollars, not only for MELS, but also for the Quebec economy. »

« Montreal’s expertise is in high demand, » said Montreal Mayor Valérie Plante, who was present at the announcement.

She said she received great testimonials from « Netflix, Disney, HBO and company » during an economic mission to Los Angeles in 2019.

« What stands out is that they love Montreal because of its expertise, knowledge and beauty. We need more space, like MELS 4, » she said.

There is still not enough capacity in Quebec, acknowledged Minister of Finance, the Economy and Innovation Eric Girard.

« It is certain that the government is concerned about fairness and balance, so if other requests come in, we will study them with the same seriousness as we have studied this one, » he said.

Grandé Studios is the second-largest player in the industry. Last May, the company said it had expansion plans that should begin in 2022. Investissement Québec and Bell are minority shareholders in the company.

For its part, MELS will have 400,000 square feet of production space once MELS 4 is completed. The company employs 450 people in Quebec and offers a range of services including studio and equipment rentals, image and sound postproduction, visual effects and a virtual production platform.

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