Supply Chain Infrastructure Challenges That Come with The Canadian Legalization of Marijuana

June 20, 2018 BY Jeff Hamilton

20180620 - marijuana

With the passing of Bill C-45 Tuesday evening, recreational marijuana moves into the final stage of legalization across Canada. Depending on the province, weed should be legal in the next 2-3 months.

Here are some supply chain infrastructure challenges we will see over the next year from this industry.


With little time left on the clock, companies that haven’t begun constructing facilities will have to find a building that works for them. Whether it’s a food production or mail sorting facility, marijuana producers need to consider factors including:

˃ Adequate building height for production equipment like automatic weighers, which work by product flowing with gravity onto the scales
˃ A finished goods warehouse conducive to preserving the quality of the product. This means carefully monitoring temperature & humidity and ensuring lighting does not harm product


Marijuana is an extremely homogenous product – different strains look identical. 500 SKUs may very well all look the same. With this kind of product, barcoding to ensure easy identification will reduce errors and eliminate labor-intensive verification and double checking.

Marijuana will likely be subject to the same safety regulations as food and beverage. That means lot control and traceability will become requirements for all producers and distributors.

Additionally, producers will be transforming bulk weed into finished goods in a variety of sizes and packages. The ability to complete this process in a warehouse management system will help manage packaging inventory, build efficient production runs and determine yield rates.


Demand for marijuana will come from e-commerce, retail and wholesale channels. Each channel will expect products tailored to their customers. Producers must build production lines to fill tiny pouches, retail containers and wholesale bags to appeal to all types of consumers.

To ramp up production, manual weighing and bagging needs to be replaced by a smart implementation of automated equipment. Marijuana producers require weighing technology with a high level of precision.

Make sure you consider fill sizes, fill rates and packaging variety before deciding on the equipment purchases.


Much remains to be determined with how the government will exactly regulate and sell marijuana. Supply chain and logistics know-how and capacity will be in high demand as this industry forms (pun intended).