If you’ve walked into a dispensary lately, you’ve probably noticed the cost of cannabis. In fact, maybe you’ve noticed the price, turned around, and walked out without buying anything. Nobody likes paying more for the same product they can get for cheaper somewhere else. But that’s exactly what’s happened for cannabis consumers across Canada since legalization!
If you’re a long-time cannabis user, your wallet has probably taken a bit of a hit since legalization. Since Canada legalized cannabis, the costs have gone up nation-wide. But how much? Here’s a province-by-province breakdown of cannabis costs and increases since legalization.
Cost Increase Across the Nation
We all knew that the price of legal cannabis would be higher than illegal cannabis –it’s no surprise. The current average price per gram of cannabis in Canada is around $8.04, compared to an average cost of $6.85 before legalization. Alice de Koning from the University of Calgary’s Haskayne School of Business puts it best in an interview with CBC.
During the interview, de Koning says that: “[considering] what the regulatory environment is expecting of [cannabis retailers], it’s very logical that the price would go up.” She also talks about the quality control, packaging requirements, and regulations in place for legal cannabis distributers. “All of that costs more than the illegal drug distributor who’s using a Ziploc bag and a pen to distribute his product – or her product.”
Of course these extra costs need to be recuperated somewhere, and that results in a higher cost for buyers. It hasn’t been exactly the same across the board, though. Let’s look at cannabis prices in the different provinces.
We can agree that cannabis prices have gone up federally, but some of our provinces and territories are paying significantly more than the national average for their cannabis. Remember, the national average is around $8.04. Thanks to Statistics Canada, we can take a look at the overall cost of cannabis in Canada. Here is a breakdown of cost per gram of cannabis across Canada:
Average Cost: $9.07
Percent Increase: 24%
Average Cost: $7.15
Percent Increase: 3.7%
Average Cost: $9.14
Percent Increase: 27.7%
Average Cost: $8.27
Percent Increase: 30.5%
Newfoundland and Labrador
Average Cost: $9.36
Percent Increase: 21.8%
Average Cost: $8.73
Percent Increase: 19.7%
Average Cost: $8.05
Percent Increase: 8.5%
Prince Edward Island
Average Cost: $7.69
Percent Increase: 5%
Average Cost: $6.75
Percent Increase: 15.9%
Average Cost: $8.02
Percent Increase: 10.3%
Average Cost Yukon: $10.36
Average Cost Northwest Territories: $14.45
Average Cost Nunavut: Not enough information
Percent Increase: Not enough information
The Bigger Picture
While prices have increased across the country, they haven’t increased equally. As you can see, the territories are facing the highest costs for cannabis, which isn’t shocking considering the higher living costs already faced by people living in Canada’s north.
Here’s an overview of the cost per gram of cannabis provincially:
- The highest cost is in Newfoundland at $9.36
- The highest overall increase in cost is in New Brunswick with a 30.5% increase
- The lowest cost is in Quebec at $6.75
- The lowest overall increase in cost is in British Columbia with a 3.7% increase
The Effect of High Prices?
Current prices aren’t competitive when compared to the cost of black market cannabis. So far, the high cost of cannabis doesn’t seem to be deterring most buyers. However, this likely won’t last. High costs could drive consumers to purchase illegal cannabis rather than visiting a legal dispensary. If the Canadian government wants to eliminate black market for cannabis, they need to make the costs more competitive.
Most experts aren’t concerned about prices yet, saying it’s still early. Garrett Popadynetz with Four20 Premium Market says, “We’re still going to see economies of scale from licensed producers, suppliers, as well as retailers, and all of those things will help decrease the cost of cannabis overall.” So maybe in the near future we’ll all benefit from lower cannabis costs as we see the market scale. Fingers crossed!