Shopify sees 100 pot orders per minute on Canadian websites for legalization day

According to CBC News, The Canadian online cannabis stores powered by Shopify’s (TSX: SHOP) (NASDAQ: SHOP) e-commerce software are collectively processing more than 100 orders per minute, the Ottawa-based company said, an indication of the high demand for newly-legal cannabis.

Since recreational cannabis was legalized in Canada at midnight, local time, the government-operated websites and private retailer portals powered by Shopify have processed “hundreds of thousands” of orders since cannabis was legalized at the stroke of midnight, said Vice-President Loren Padelford.

The stores have seen “millions of visitors” from Canada and around the world within hours of going live at midnight.

Canadians of adult age are now able to purchase non-medical cannabis online or in physical outlets across the country for the first time — marking a massive shift in the country’s drug policy and the opening of what some are expecting to be a massive and lucrative market. It could be worth as much as $4 billion in the first year, according to a report from consultancy Deloitte.

The online cannabis business will be thriving due to the small amount of physical locations where consumers can purchase cannabis. For example, Newfoundland and Labrador have approximately more than 20 outlets open. Meanwhile, Ontarians can only buy recreational cannabis online until private retailers open next year. Other regions such as British Columbia and Prince Edward Island will require users to go through government portals, while others use Shopify’s platform.

Many businesses run out of supply quickly such as AlbertaCannabis.org, which forced customers to wait in a virtual queue shortly after launching. A company spokeswoman said that the queue was clear just shortly an hour after launch, with some products being completely sold out.