Legalized pot is responding to the laws of supply and demand.
The price of dried cannabis has soared in Alberta since the federal government legalized the production and sale of cannabis for non-medical purposes on Oct. 17, 2018, according to Statistics Canada. Legal pot is now 57 per cent more expensive than a similar street drug.
The price has increased by 24.2 per cent in the province, the agency reports, rising from $7.30 per gram pre-legalization to $9.07 post legalization.
“All customers, no matter the frequency of their use, were paying more for dried cannabis after legalization,” the report stated. “Infrequent consumers, or those who use a few times a year, were paying 27.2 per cent more per gram of dried cannabis, while more frequent users, or those who consume daily, were paying 14.8 per cent more since legalization.”
Since legalization, individuals buying dried cannabis from legal sources have paid an average of $9.99 per gram, while those purchasing from illegal sources have paid an average of $6.37 per gram. Prior to legalization, the average price for illegally purchased dried cannabis was $6.79 per gram.
“The purchase price from legal sources was, on average, 56.8 per cent higher than the purchase price from illegal sources, according to the crowdsourcing data. Consumers purchasing from an in-store government-licensed retailer paid $10.73 per gram, making this source of purchase the most expensive.”
The federal agency said New Brunswick and Manitoba reported the largest price increases since legalization.
It said prices in New Brunswick, which were among the lowest in Canada before Oct. 17, recorded the largest growth since legalization, up 30.5 per cent per gram for dried cannabis to an average price of $8.27 per gram.
Manitoba, at an average of $9.14 per gram, recorded the second highest growth since legalization, up 27.7 per cent per gram for dried cannabis.
Respondents in British Columbia reported a 3.7 per cent increase in price since legalization, the lowest increase among the provinces.
Mario Toneguzzi is a Troy Media business reporter based in Calgary.