Canadians spent more on legal weed in April than they ever have before, with a record $309.7 million in sales and a notable leap in Vancouver, British Columbia, according to the latest retail data from Statistics Canada.
This April, cannabis retail sales beat out the previous record set in March of $298.1 million, a climb of about four per cent. The daily spending average also reached roughly $10.3 million, another record-high.
It’s a 75 per cent increase compared to April of last year, which was the third-lowest month for Canada’s cannabis retail sales in 2020.
StatsCan notes the country’s overall retail sales dropped 5.7 per cent to $54.8 billion in April. This coincides with the third wave of Covid-19 and was the largest drop since last April during the first wave of the pandemic.
However, Canada’s cannabis sales aren’t experiencing the same declines and are on pace to reach $3.6 billion this year.
B.C. is seeing back-to-back increases in monthly sales since dropping off in the first two months of the year. April’s sales went up 13 per cent from March for a total of nearly $47 million.
Vancouver’s legal weed sales shot up 30 per cent in April to $16.7 million.
Trend to legal sales expected to continue
With more stores popping up and greater availability of large quantities of weed around April, Evergreen Cannabis co-owner Mike Babins isn’t surprised by the increase. It’s part of a trend he suspects will continue as the legal market draws more consumers away from illicit sellers.
“It’s going to keep going this way,” he tells Mugglehead by phone, explaining the appeal of legalization was gradual. “People are going to be stuck in their ways and side with the black market.”
“Then over time curiosity is going to take over. People are going to come in, check it out and realize, ‘Whoa this is actually pretty good — this is what we’ve been fighting for the whole time.'”
Ontario’s April sales reached $108.1 million, an increase of just over four per cent. Toronto sold about $42 million, up six per cent from the previous month.
Cannabis stores in the province welcomed back customers in-person earlier this month.
A total of 356 licences have been issued so far in B.C., and Ontario has more than 800 stores allowed to open and hundreds more in the licensing process, according to the province’s Alcohol and Gaming Commission.
While most areas saw notable increases in March, there weren’t as many significant changes in April.
Alberta, Manitoba, Saskatchewan, and Quebec saw little change in April sales compared to the month before. Any drop in sales was around two per cent or less.
- Alberta: $58.9 million, down less than 1 per cent;
- Saskatchewan: $13.4 million, up 5 per cent;
- Manitoba: $11.5 million, up 2.7 per cent;
- Quebec: $48.8 million, up less than 1 per cent;
- Nova Scotia: $7.8 million, down less than 1 per cent;
- New Brunswick: $6.5 million, down 2 per cent;
- Newfoundland: $4.6 million, up less than 1 per cent;
- Northwest Territories: $623,000, down $3,000.
There was no data available for P.E.I or the Yukon in April. Nunavut hasn’t had available figures either.