Canada’s cannabis consumers spent 4.52 billion Canadian dollars ($3.35 billion) on regulated adult-use products in 2022, growing 17.9% over 2021’s sales total, according to new retail sales data released Tuesday by Statistics Canada.
The year-over-year sales increase came as the number of licensed cannabis stores in Canada increased.
In 2021, Canadians bought CA$3.83 billion worth of recreational cannabis from licensed stores.
Despite the notable year-over-year increase, the pace of cannabis sales growth in Canada appears to be slowing, said Michael Armstrong, who studies Canada’s cannabis market as an associate business professor at Brock University in St. Catharine’s, Ontario.
“I think that (growth), to a large extent, is the story of stores,” Armstrong told MJBizDaily.
Across Canada, Armstrong explained, cannabis sales trends track closely with the number of retail outlets.
In Ontario, Canada’s most populous province and most valuable marijuana market, the number of cannabis stores increased until the summer of 2022, he said.
“Most other provinces weren’t adding stores as rapidly,” Armstrong said.
“Alberta was close, but they already had a lot of stores, so I think they were seeing less effect.”
Canada is home to roughly 3,700 cannabis stores and retail licenses, including nearly 1,700 in Ontario.
Overall store count growth has stagnated, Armstrong said.
Without some kind of change - for example, if major cities such as Richmond, British Columbia, or Mississauga, Ontario, permitted cannabis retail, or if provincial governments were more permissive toward consumption lounge - Armstrong expects future market growth to come from "slow, gradual population growth, maybe a little bit of product innovation."
"But nothing like what we have seen prior to this year," he added.
Monthly cannabis sales record
Monthly recreational cannabis sales reached a record CA$425.9 million in December, following month-over-month declines in October and November.
Sales increased 13.8% on a month-over-month basis from November's revised sales total of CA$374.3 million.
After adjusting for the fact that December was one day longer than November, month-over-month sales increased by 10.1%.
The province of Manitoba led Canada in monthly sales growth, with sales increasing by 21.7%, to CA$18.3 million, from November to December.
Cannabis sales also grew on a monthly basis in every other province and territory tracked by Statistics Canada, as follows (presented in order of market size):
- Ontario: CA$171.2 million (+15.1%)
- Alberta: CA$73.8 million (+11.1%)
- British Columbia: CA$63.1 million (+13.3%)
- Quebec: CA$54.6 million (+12.7%)
- Saskatchewan: CA$17 million (+10%)
- Nova Scotia: CA$9.9 million (+15.2%)
- New Brunswick: CA$7.6 million (+14.3%)
- Newfoundland and Labrador: CA$6.4 million (+13.8%)
- Prince Edward Island: CA$2 million (+10%)
- Yukon: CA$966,000 (+13.4%)
Statistics Canada did not present sales figures for the Northwest Territories and Nunavut.
Armstrong said the strong December sales figure is partly attributable to seasonal holiday spending.
"To the extent that that is true, we will likely see the reverse in January, a small drop," Armstrong said.
"Just like you see in most other retail sectors, spending peaks in November, December, and then January, February (are) slow months before things recover in March."
Solomon Israel can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.