Vape pens outdistance other ‘Cannabis 2.0’ products in Canada, data shows

Marijuana oil vape pens have taken a commanding lead as the most popular “Cannabis 2.0” product in three key Canadian provinces, capturing more market share than other refined cannabis merchandise such as edibles, beverages, concentrated extracts and topicals combined during the first six months those items have been available in Canada.

New point-of-sale data collected by Seattle data analytics firm Headset shows that vape pen sales earned 16% of cannabis market share in Alberta this June, 13.4% in British Columbia, and 15.1% in Ontario.

The vast majority of market share is still held by “Cannabis 1.0” products – chiefly dried in flower or pre-rolled joints – which have been available since the outset of Canada’s adult-use legalization in October 2018.

“Cannabis 2.0” products started their slow rollout in mid-December and have been available in greater quantities since then.

Headset’s data shows that in Ontario, vape pen market share actually exceeded that of pre-rolls in February.

That trend continued through June, when pre-rolls comprised 12.5% of Ontario market share compared with 15.1% for vapes.

Headset’s Ontario data captures only private retail sales and does not include purchases through the Ontario Cannabis Store (OCS), the provincial government’s online cannabis monopoly.

However, OCS data released in June also showed vape pens leading among Cannabis 2.0 products.

Pre-rolls remained more popular than vapes in June in British Columbia (18.4% market share) and Alberta (20.2%).

As in the United States, the popularity of cannabis vape pens in Canada suggests resilience in that product category despite both the COVID-19 pandemic and the 2019 vaping health crisis.

Ryan Roch, owner of Lake City Cannabis in Chestermere Alberta, said Canadian cannabis consumers value vape pens for their simplicity, convenience and low odor.

Roch has observed prices for vape pens and cartridges falling over the past six months as competition increases in the category.

“In Alberta they’re coming down for sure. … (TerrAscend brand) Haven St. launched with an CA$80 vape pen at the gate, and now it’s down to CA$39.99,” he said.

“There’s some significant price dropping, and now there’s some new companies entering the market.”

But vape pens’ current dominance over edibles and other next-generation products in Canada might also have something to do with availability, Roch believes: His store currently carries roughly 50 vape SKUs, compared to a more limited number of edibles and beverage options.

“Edible-wise, we’re still trying to get gummies at an accessible rate … and as far as concentrate goes, it’s just wildly too expensive, still,” he said.

Regulated vape pens are not available to consumers in the Canadian provinces of Newfoundland and Quebec, which both banned the products in late 2019 in light of the vaping health crisis.

The government of British Columbia allowed vape pen sales but implemented an extra tax on retail sales of vape products.

Solomon Israel can be reached at