While Australians are freezing our way through a crisis, Canadians have been getting toasted.
A new report released in by Statistics Canada has revealed that Canadian consumption of cannabis is at an all-time high, after six straight months of record-breaking bud sales. Since February, cannabis sales have increased to new highs every month, with marijuana sales increasing during the pandemic.
As cannabis is considered an inferior good, sales naturally increase during times of economic crisis. Although this increase was expected throughout the cannabis industry, the demand for dope has exceeded expectations.
While Canadians bought $91.7 million* of cannabis in June 2019, that number has increased by 119%, with cannabis sales reaching $201.1 million in June 2020.
When asked why cannabis sales are increasing so dramatically, experts from Business in Vancouver listed four reasons back in 2019.
- Fewer black-market stores
- More legal stores
- Improved product quality
- More product variety (including edibles).
While these are still true today, the pandemic has also accelerated the demand for cannabis, with Canadian Minister Mike Farnworth saying:
More and more, people are finding that the quality is what they want and they’re finding that they can get what they want (legally).
Although sales have increased nationwide, bud-buying in British Columbia has increased the fastest. In June 2019, the British Columbians bought $4,230,000 of cannabis. A year later, this number increased more than seven times.
While the increase in sales can be explained by the pandemic, British Columbia’s law also changed in March. Under the legislation changes, private retailers can now sell cannabis online (although in-person pickup is still required).
This has increased the number of Canadians with retail licenses for cannabis dramatically. While recreational cannabis has been legal since October 2018, there were only 176 licenses at the end of 2019. As of August 2020, this has increased to 264.
Despite the reasons for the raise, British Columbia is now up to speed with Ontario, Alberta and Quebec – as each province recorded over $25 million worth of cannabis sales in June 2020.
While Australia’s cannabis industry is still budding, our cannabis industry could be worth $1.5 billion by 2024, if recreational cannabis is legalised nationwide. You can read that story here.
*Editors note: all figures are in CAD