Canada’s legal market hoses Colorado’s

Grayson Acri, Cannabis Reporter

There is no beating the Canadian cannabis market.

Canada was the first G-7 country to legalize cannabis, since the Cannabis Act went into law in 2018, granting federal-level legalization of cannabis to everyone over 18-21 depending on the province. Everyone of age can carry 30 grams of dried cannabis on their person, and it can be visible. You can use a Canadian-issued credit card at dispensaries — no cash is necessary.

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While laws vary provincially and municipally, in general, it is legal to consume cannabis anywhere cigarettes are allowed. You can also fly domestically with 30 grams of dried cannabis and paraphernalia.

The cannabis market in Canada is large. From 2018-21, there was over 11 billion Canadian dollars in sales ($8.74 billion at the current exchange rate, which is about 80 American cents to CA$1). Only 67.8% of that was recreational sales, as Canada also has a strong medical market.

The entire industry brought CA$43.5 billion toward the Canadian gross domestic product. The industry maintains around 98,000 jobs annually, with growers, packagers, shipping and logistics personnel and budtenders. 

This large market yields far cheaper prices on average. From 2018-20, the average price for a gram of dried flower was CA$6.95 after taxes. The best prices were in Quebec, with a gram going for CA$5.85, and the worst prices were in the territories at CA$10.65. Even Canada’s worst price is considerably lower than Colorado, where the average gram goes for $12, according to MarijuanaRates.com

This may be because producers and growers are able to get capital from stocks and bonds on the Toronto Stock Exchange. That’s right: In Canada, you can invest in weed. You can in the U.S. as well, but the overall industry underperforms the market.

One of the biggest producers in Canada is Aurora Cannabis Inc., which produces all different types of products from flowers to topicals, edibles and everything in between, both recreationally under many brand names as well as medically.

There are plenty of other examples, like Quebec-based HEXO Corp., which produces mostly for its domestic market, to large multinational cannabis corporations, like Canopy Growth Corporation, which sells in Canada, Germany and right here at home in the U.S. By making cannabis federally legal, Canada has enabled their companies to grow beyond their borders and will likely remain at the forefront of the legal industry with a first-mover advantage. 

Taxes are also less convoluted — to the consumer, at least. Cannabis packages are labeled with a big red THC warning as well as an excise stamp on the opening of the package. This tax stamp is different based on the province and assures the consumer that the product they’re about to enjoy is completely legal countrywide, and all duties are paid. The duty is baked into the price, and the consumer only has to add sales tax, which can range from 5-15%. 

The biggest downside to Canada’s legal market is actually the United States. Since legalization, Canadian citizens have had a harder time coming to the U.S. for any reason, as border control has reportedly made entry difficult for those who admit to cannabis use at any point. 

There is no beating Canadian cannabis rules at the moment. Federal legalization allows anyone in their dominion of age to possess, use and sell cannabis with proper licenses in an open, legal and safe environment. 

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Reach Grayson Acri at cannabis@collegian.com or on Twitter @Guy1376.