In the first year of legal recreational cannabis in Canada, Canadians spent about $908 million in non-medical sales.
According to Statistics Canada (StatsCan), Canadians spent about $24 per capita on cannabis products from Oct. 17 2018, when cannabis was legalized, to the end of September 2019. Ontario led the country with $216.8 million in total sales. Alberta, which has the most physical cannabis retailers in the country, came recorded $195.7 million in sales. Analysts originally predicted first year sales could total anywhere from $1.58 billion to as much as $4.34 billion.
StatsCan data shows the illicit cannabis market in Canada still represents 70 to 80 percent of cannabis sales in the first year. As of July, prices were still lower in the illicit market than Canada’s legal market.
“While online cannabis retail ensures access to all Canadians regardless of proximity to a physical store, accessibility continues to improve as more stores open across the country,” StatsCan said in the study. “The cannabis retail market will continue to evolve as jurisdictions adapt their regulatory approaches, as supply chains develop and as cannabis product offerings diversify.”
Yukon led all other provinces in sales per capita at $103. Prince Edward Island came in second at $97. British Colombia ranked the lowest with $10. StatCan was unable to prove any data for Nunavut, the only area without a physical cannabis store.
Throughout the year, more physical dispensaries opened, going from 217 stores in March to 407 in July. As of December, there are 542 cannabis dispensaries open in the country. Online sales accounted for nearly half of all retail sales in Canada, but as more physical stores opened, StatsCan determined online sales accounted for 13.3 percent of the country’s recreational cannabis market.
“While online cannabis retail ensures access to all Canadians regardless of proximity to a physical store, accessibility continues to improve as more stores open across the country,” StatsCan said.