Ontario government cannabis prices beating illicit market, report says

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Ontario’s government-operated Ontario Cannabis Store (OCS) claims it is undercutting illicit marijuana prices with an average price of 7.05 Canadian dollars ($5.30) per gram of dried flower, taxes included, during its first fiscal quarter.

In comparison, the average price for a gram of marijuana from illicit mail-order dispensaries was CA$7.98, the OCS said in a new quarterly report covering April, May and June.

The OCS, a web retailer with a monopoly on online cannabis sales and delivery in Canada’s most populous province, said its illegal market prices were sourced via Weedmaps.com and the illicit online dispensaries themselves.

The quarterly average per-gram price at licensed private-sector stores in Ontario was CA$9.88 with taxes included, according to the OCS.

The legal market price data were weighted by sales, while the illicit market price data were not.

The quarterly report highlighted “strong, positive consumer reaction to large-format 28-gram value offerings,” which grew to 3.9% of OCS dried flower sales during the first quarter from 1.1% in the previous quarter.

“Some of these volume products are offered to consumers at a price of around CA$4.20 per gram, including taxes,” OCS wrote.

The OCS also serves as the sole legal wholesaler to Ontario’s private-sector marijuana stores.

The province’s store count grew from 53 at the end of the previous quarter to 110 at the end of June, the report said.

This week, Ontario’s cannabis store regulator announced it would speed up the opening of new stores by issuing 10 licenses every week.

The OCS also announced Cal Bricker stepped down as CEO.

The role is being filled on an interim basis by Thomas Haig, who recently served as president of Ottawa-based discount retailer Giant Tiger.