Cannabis sales in Newfoundland and Labrador are thriving despite the Covid-19 pandemic, according to the latest earnings report which is showing year-over-year growth.
The Newfoundland and Labrador Liquor Corporation (NLC) released its fourth quarter and fiscal year-end results Tuesday.
Retail cannabis sales grew 35.7 per cent, reaching $52.1 million for the 2021 fiscal year, which ended April 3. Fourth-quarter sales hit $14.2 million.
Net earnings from cannabis sales shot up 66.4 per cent from last year for a total of $11.1 million.
Newfoundland and Labrador’s licensed cannabis retailers (LCRs) saw commissions of $4.1 million in Q4. Commissions totalled $14.5 million for the fiscal year, a 34.1 per cent jump from last year.
Challenges stemming from the Covid-19 pandemic made it a year unlike any other for most businesses and NLC was no different, says CEO and president Bruce Keating.
“The significant changes to our business, beginning late in the previous fiscal year, continued and were further enhanced to enable NLC to continue to provide outstanding service to Newfoundlanders and Labradorians right across the province. First and foremost, the health and safety of our employees and customers continue to be our number one priority,” he said in a statement.
High-THC flower and CBD extracts are in high demand while edibles, concentrates and beverages are selling well as incremental purchases. Economy and larger formats are performing well too, which is similar to alcohol sales.
Five new weed stores opened up in St. John’s, Goulds, Burin, Gander and Grand Falls-Windsor during the fiscal year. There are now 30 LCRs in the province. Requests for proposals have been made for 16 new stores “to further increase customer service and disrupt the illicit market.”
There are 19 licensed cannabis producers in the province’s market, including supply agreements BeeHighVE and Argentia Gold, and eight more are set to arrive this month.
NLC’s compliance and enforcement department continues to disrupt the illicit market through investigations and warrants resulting in “significant seizures.”
Working with local law enforcement and Canada Post, the NLC investigated 27 files and reports seizures of 148 kilograms of cannabis products with a market value of $1.7 million. Since legalization, $4.8 million in illicit cannabis products have been seized in the province.
“NLC is committed to providing systematic and thorough regulatory oversight that helps ensure public safety and provides a safe and secure supply of cannabis to the province,” the report stated.