COVID-19 pandemic a ‘boon’ for legal cannabis in Canada as marijuana industry turns two
Canada’s legal marijuana industry is celebrating a jump in sales, more brick-and-mortar stores and competitive pricing as it celebrates two years in business. Since Canada legalized recreational marijuana on Oct. 17, 2018, legal sellers and producers have struggled to compete with the black market, but there have been recent gains in the licensed industry. The change? The coronavirus pandemic, says retail marketing expert David Soberman. “It’s been a boon for the legal industry,” said Soberman, a professor of marketing at the University of Toronto.
In July, licensed marijuana stores sold more than $231 million in product — a 15-per cent increase from June’s sales — marking the biggest monthly jump since the country legalized cannabis.
“Because people are spending more time at home, they’re perhaps more comfortable with consuming cannabis,” said Terry Kulaga, the founder of Weed Me, a legal cannabis production company based in Pickering, Ont. “As people work from home, they probably have more time to actually consume cannabis.” Canadians have been buying more pot, according to Statistics Canada, and where people are buying it is changing. The long-established black market has always had more business than the Canadian pot industry, but households have been spending more on the legal cannabis market and less on the illegal market.