Medical cannabis sales climb in Canada after adult-use legalization

(Correction: A previous version of this article stated the only way to obtain medical cannabis in Canada was through the mail from a licensed cultivator. Patients may also seek authorization from the federal government to grow it themselves or to have a designated person cultivate it for them. – Ed.)

Sales of medical marijuana oil in Canada rose steadily in the months after recreational legalization, bucking a trend seen in some American states that also ended prohibition in recent years.

The volume of medical cannabis oil sold in Canada’s regulated market rose to nearly 5,000 kilograms (11,023 pounds) in January compared with the 4,400 kilograms shipped to patients in October 2018.

Data on the number of new patients over the same period is not yet available.

Sales of dried medical marijuana in Canada dropped slightly in January to 1,770 kilograms compared with October’s 1,890 kilograms.

Canada legalized recreational cannabis Oct. 17, 2018, but maintains a separate program for medical marijuana.

Besides legally growing it themselves or via a designated person, the only way to access legal medical cannabis in Canada is to obtain an authorization from a medical practitioner, then register with a licensed producer and have the product mailed to the patient.

Some industry sources predict Canada’s medical marijuana sales may start to decline after adult use commands more market share.

But that could be years away.

The full financial effect of Canada’s recreational marijuana legalization is not expected to be felt for some time. The early months have been marked by a small number of physical stores in most provinces and limited product selection.

If Canada’s medical sales do end up declining, that would be in line with trends observed in U.S. states that have legalized cannabis for recreational use.

In states such as Nevada and Oregon, the number of medical cannabis patients fell in the immediate months after adult-use legalization.

Colorado, meanwhile, saw steady medical users in the two years after legalization before seeing a sharp decline thereafter.

Reasons for the decline post-legalization vary depending on the market, but reasons cited include high costs for medical marijuana cards and ease of access to the recreational market.

Matt Lamers can be reached at [email protected]

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3 comments on “Medical cannabis sales climb in Canada after adult-use legalization
  1. Justin Cassels on

    It is incorrect to say: “The only way to access legal medical cannabis in Canada is to obtain an authorization from a medical practitioner, then register with a licensed producer and have the product mailed to the patient.”

    There is also legal provision under the ACMPR and MMAR for the licensing (by Health Canada) of cultivation for medical use, either by an individual patient, or by a patient designated grower.

    This is the “Access” part of the ACMPR; Access to Cannabis for Medical Purposes Regulations…

    Reply
  2. Maxcatski on

    Medical cannabis will continue to grow in Canada. Many medical users are willing to access the legal system whereas they are not willing to buy from the black market.

    There is no cost for the doctor’s visit under our healthcare system. And you can select your own legal provider which may make different products available to you which are not sold in stores.

    Cannabis is rapidly becoming normal in Canada. Service staff are happy to receive joints as a tip. The occasional person who declines always says “Thank You” anyway. This is Canada, after all.

    I am a legal self producer and I regularly give away joints. My latest ski day was a fourteen joint give away powder day! And we burned another four on top of that! Canada loves Cannabis!

    Reply
  3. AC RIERA on

    IS THE SEPARATION FOR INSURANCE PURPOSES ??? MEDICAL AND RECREATIONAL AND SELF GROW NEED NOT BE ON OPPOSING SIDES.

    SHOCKING THAT ALCOHOL IS NOT TREATED IN THE SAME MANNER?

    Reply

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