After slow start, Canada’s recreational marijuana sales reach new high

Adult-use cannabis sales through regulated channels in Canada reached a new high in June after meandering for much of the first half-year of legalization, according to the latest, seasonally adjusted data from Statistics Canada.

Sales of regulated adult-use cannabis surpassed 85 million Canadian dollars ($63 million) in June, an improvement over May’s CA$79 million and April’s CA$67 million.

For just the second month in a row, retail sales – in physical stores and online – grew in every province.

Ontario continued to lead with CA$25.8 million in retail revenues, followed by Quebec’s CA$18.5 million and Alberta’s CA$18.3 million.

British Columbia’s adult-use marijuana receipts rose to CA$4.1 million as consumers in that province continued to prefer nonregulated sources.

The data shows a strong correlation between sales and physical store build-outs.

Ontario, which now has 24 stores open, encountered lousy recreational sales until its first outlets opened in April. Before that, consumers displayed a general unwillingness to rely on the government-run online sales channel.

Only a limited selection of product forms are available in Canada currently, including dried flower, oils, softgel capsules, seeds and seedlings.

That’s going to change in the coming months.

The federal government recently unveiled final regulations to enable the sale of cannabis edibles, extracts and topicals starting this fall, which will unlock what is forecast to be a multibillion-dollar regulated industry.

However, experts warn against expecting a meaningful jump in sales until 2020 as companies navigate complex regulatory hurdles and build supply chains from nearly scratch.

Statistics Canada’s monthly sales by province are available here.

Matt Lamers can be reached at