When adult-use cannabis sales became legal in Canada in October of last year, it was no secret that growth was going to be slow and supply was going to be hampered for the foreseeable future. Heavy restrictions and regulations were going to make it impossible for the legal industry to get any kind of momentum out of the gate, a state of affairs that soon came to pass as shortages and high prices drove people away from the legal market.
The result was stagnant sales figures for adult-use marijuana in the first 5 months of legality. But it now seems as though some sort of tipping point was reached in March when a streak of 5 straight months of increasing sales kicked off. March saw some $46 million in retail sales, a figure that has steadily gone up each month, to the $78.8 million figure for July.
The things that bring more people into the legal market are no surprise or secret at this point – good quality, good variety, convenience and competitive prices. As more people feel they can find these things in the legal market, the more they will shift to do so.
In total, Canadians have bought more than $500 million in legal adult-use marijuana since October. It’s not the number most analysts and prognosticators were looking for, but at least now sales figures are going in the right direction.
I hate to sound like a broken record on this, but I have no choice. Treating cannabis like a very dangerous substance that needs to be restricted and regulated to the max does immense harm to the legal industry for no reason. It drives away investors and customers and even if the market recovers and adjusts – as usually happens – how much was lost getting to that point? How much growth was permanently wiped away?
Regulations, taxes, fees and restrictions will come with legalization. It’s the only way government officials know, or care to know. They are not going to voluntarily reduce their power or job security, and they certainly don’t want to reduce revenue for the state/ government.
But marijuana is not nuclear waste; it’s not even alcohol in terms of the danger that comes with use. It is one of the most non-toxic, benign, yet medically effective substances known to humankind. That sounds like something officials should be doing all they can to expand access to. If they really worked for the people, that’s exactly what they would be doing.