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Higher cannabis prices after legalization

Higher cannabis prices dominate the Canadian market.

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Nico deVeber | The Dialog

Since legalization in October 2018, the average price of cannabis per gram grew by 17 per cent.

This is according to a Statistics Canada report release on April 10 on their StatsCannabis crowdsourcing application. The sample was self-selected and the number of responses was limited, particularly in smaller provinces and territories.

Over half the respondents in the document reported purchasing illegal cannabis. Reasons stated for purchasing illegal cannabis included better quality or variety of product, difficulty accessing legal cannabis, and the price of legal cannabis being too high.

The average price for legal cannabis per gram was $9.99 which adds up to $283 per ounce. In comparison, an ounce of illegal cannabis would average $180 at $6.37 per gram.

The report said that consumers purchasing cannabis from in-store government-licensed retailers are paying the highest price for cannabis at $10.73 per gram.

“It’s the right thing to do. If you’re not going to go to a legal store you don’t know what you’re getting,” said Holly Osipow, a customer lined up at The Hunny Pot legal dispensary in downtown, Toronto. “You don’t know if it’s been grown or handled properly, you don’t know about people who are actually handling it,” she added.

Osipow pointed out that although she is employed, there are many people who have either the desire or the need to access cannabis but cannot afford it, and can see the high prices at legal dispensaries becoming a problem.

The document said that prior to legalization, the average price for illegally purchased dried cannabis was $6.79 per gram. The purchase price from legal sources was, on average, 57 per cent higher than the purchase price from illegal sources, according to the crowdsourcing data.

Cannabis users who listed using cannabis only a few times a year have seen the highest spike in price with a 27 per cent increase post-legalization. Users who listed using the substance a few times per month have seen a 25 per cent increase since legalization.

Daily users’ prices were the least affected by frequency of use, seeing a 15 per cent increase since legalization last October.

New Brunswick, Manitoba, and Alberta respectively had the highest percentage of change from pre-legalization to post-legalization with New Brunswick seeing a 30 per cent increase in the price of dried cannabis.

Ontario experienced an eight per cent increase with the average price per gram going from $7.42 before legalization to $8.05 after legalization.


Image of cannabis from previous files.

Article from The Dialog via the Canadian University Press.  ■

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