Pot prices up 17.3% post-legalization, large hikes in NB and Manitoba: StatCan

TORONTO — The average cost of dried cannabis has gone up by more than 17 per cent since legalization, with consumers in New Brunswick and Manitoba seeing the biggest jumps, according to an analysis compiled by Statistics Canada.

As well, the cost of a legal gram of weed appears to be rising as illegal cannabis prices drop.

Statistics Canada said Wednesday the unweighted average price per gram of dried cannabis from both legal and illegal sources combined post-legalization was $8.04. That legal price, which includes online and in-store purchases, amounts to approximately 17.3 per cent more than the pre-legalization price of $6.85.

Buyers from legal sources since Oct. 17 last year have paid an average of $9.99 per gram, about 56.8 per cent higher than the average illicit market price of just $6.37 per gram. Those who prefer shopping in legal brick-and-mortar shops say they are paying even more, the government agency said.

“Consumers purchasing from an in-store government-licensed retailer paid $10.73 per gram, making this source of purchase the most expensive,” Statistics Canada said in a report.

The agency based the conclusions on price quotes gathered using the StatsCannabis crowdsourcing application between Oct. 17, 2018, when Canada legalized pot for recreational use, and March 31. However, the agency urged caution when interpreting the data because the sample is self-selected and the responses are limited in number, particularly in smaller provinces and in the territories.

During that period, StatsCannabis received 1,129 new submissions, 936 of which passed the editing and screening process, the agency said.

The latest data appeared to signal that the price of illegal pot is slipping.

In the government agency’s previous report — based on 385 “plausible” price quotes gathered via StatsCannabis between Oct. 17 and Dec. 31 last year — the average price paid for a gram of dried cannabis from legal and illegal suppliers was $9.70 and $6.51, respectively.

By comparison, the latest StatsCannabis data gathered post-legalization until March 31 showed that the average price of legal and illegal cannabis was $9.99 and $6.37 per gram, respectively.

Price movements varied widely between provinces and territories as well.

New Brunswick’s pre-legalization cannabis prices were among the lowest in Canada, but the province has seen the biggest post-legalization price surge with an increase of 30.5 per cent to an average of $8.27 per gram.

Manitoba saw the second-largest post-legalization price hike, with an increase of 27.7 per cent to an average of $9.14 per gram.

“Respondents in British Columbia reported a 3.7 per cent increase in price since legalization, the lowest increase among the provinces,” Statistics Canada said.

The highest average post-legalization price per gram was in the Northwest Territories at roughly $14.45 per gram, marking a 13.7 per cent increase since legalization. Quebecers had the lowest average price per gram at $6.75, up 15.9 per cent post-legalization.

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