Since the country legalized cannabis, Canadians have dished out $908 million in the new recreational market, according to Statistics Canada.
In a roundup of how the recreational market preformed in its first year, Stats Can found Ontario barely managed to outsell its much less populated peers, and at least 45 per cent of Canadians now live within 10 kilometres of a cannabis store.
Ontario spent the most at $217 million, the Northwest Territories just $3 million
Ontario retailers brought in the largest chunk of change, contributing $217 million from October 2018 to September 2019, followed by Alberta at $196 million and Quebec at $195 million.
Despite being one of the four most populous provinces, British Columbia lagged behind in retail sales, bringing in only $50 million, with the lowest sales per capita at $10 — much lower than the national $24 per capita. The Yukon reported Canada’s highest sales per capita at $103.
The number of brick and mortar stores almost doubled across the country, leaping to 407 in July 2019 from 217 in March 2019. Because retail licenses were continuously being handed out, according to Stats Can, the current number of stores is likely greater than 407.
Commuting for Canadian cannabis
The rise of retail locations meant Canadians were closer to their cannabis stores. In the spring of 2019 they had to hoof it 66 kilometres to buy a joint, but — as of September 2019 — only 34 kilometres had to be traversed to access weed.
Calculating the provinces’ population against their retail locations, Stats Can found in July 2019 people in P.E.I. had the shortest commute of 12 kilometres versus people in the Yukon who had to journey 103 kilometres for a blunt.
In Alberta it’s relatively easy to access weed. In July 2019, 70 per cent of the province lived within 10 kilometres of a cannabis store and 50 per cent lived within just three kilometres. In neighbouring B.C., only 28 per cent of the population lived within 10 kilometres of a store in March 2019, which jumped to almost half the population by July 2019 once the province opened 41 new stores for a total of 57.
On the other hand, online retail sales decreased over the year. In October 2018, online sales made up 43.4 per cent of the country’s $39.6 million of recreational sales. But by September 2019, online sales made up only 6 per cent of Canada’s $121.5 million in recreational sales.