A look at legal vs illegal recreational cannabis spending

4 mins read

The CCSI was assessed at C$5.14 per gram this week, up 0.7% from last week’s C$5.11 per gram. This week’s price equates to US$1,850 per pound at the current exchange rate.

Each week, Business of Cannabis delivers a series of insights from our partners at Cannabis Benchmarks®.

This week we examine household expenditure data issued quarterly by Statistics Canada. To start, we look at the rise of the legal recreational cannabis market across Canada. As seen in the chart below, in Q1 2022 the estimated household expenditure for legal recreational cannabis was nearly 82% greater than that spent in the illicit market.

More Canadians are choosing to purchase cannabis through regulated legal channels as awareness and accessibility continue to expand. Also fueling that trend is the drop in prices, as new supplies from legal indoor and outdoor cultivation operations became available and make products from licensed businesses more price competitive with those of illegal sellers.

In Q1 2022, recreational cannabis expenditures grew 23% to C$1,148M and illicit cannabis expenditures dropped by 16% to C$631M as compared to the same time frame in 2021. We also note that expenditure for medical-use cannabis stayed relatively flat at C$124M. Medical cannabis now makes up only 6.5% of the total cannabis bought in Canada. Total expenditure on cannabis was C$1.78B for the quarter or C$19.7M per day.

Source: Canada Cannabis Spot IndexCannabis Benchmarks

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