October 26, 2018
British Columbia’s dismal cannabis sales in the opening hours of legalization should be seen by provincial and federal regulators as a sign to do more to entice illicit players to join the regulated industry, experts say.
Among the provinces that disclosed first-day sales data, British Columbia’s sales were the lowest in Canada.
The province recorded 9,137 separate transactions of recreational cannabis products through its government-run website in the first 24 hours. That compares with Ontario’s more than 100,000 purchases, Quebec’s 30,000 online orders, and Nova Scotia’s 12,810.
Neighboring Alberta reported 8,300 online orders in its first 15 hours, meaning the province likely outsold British Columbia by the end of the day.
“B.C. coming last in sales is horrifying for the cannabis industry in this province,” said one executive, who asked to remain anonymous because of ongoing supply talks with the province.
“The first-week sales numbers in B.C. were by far the weakest of any province. The (BC Liquor Distribution Branch) needed retail storefronts open yesterday,” the executive said.
“If they cannot foster a growing retail network, LPs will simply favor other provinces with the proven ability to actually move product.”
Most experts believe the province’s gray market is a multibillion-dollar industry.
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