• Legal cannabis market shares during Canada’s first year of recreational legalisation

      Armstrong, Michael (Elsevier, 2020-11-19)
      Background: This study estimated legal products’ share of Canada’s total cannabis consumption during the first year of recreational legalisation, October 2018 to September 2019. Methods: Government data was used to estimate monthly recreational sales in dollars per capita, grams per user, and percentage share of kilograms or litres consumed. As explanatory factors, the analysis considered provincial differences in retail pricing (percentage mark-ups) and store density (stores per million users), as well as national monthly production of dry cannabis (kilograms) and cannabis oil (litres) finished products. Results: Legal recreational products’ share of Canada’s overall cannabis consumption began at 7.8% in October 2018 and grew to 23.7% by September 2019, with an average of 14.5% over the first 12 months. Sales growth was delayed by shortages of both dry cannabis products and licensed stores, but not cannabis oils. Across the 10 provinces, legal recreational shares in September 2019 varied from 13% to 70%; differences in store densities and retail prices partly explained the variation. Prince Edward Island’s large 70% share seemed due to it having minimal product shortages, high store densities, and low prices. Conclusions: Legal recreational products captured market share to the extent they were available, accessible, and low-priced. Problems with those factors slowed the initial expansion of legal product sales but also suggested ways to gradually increase their market share.
    • Canada’s provinces and territories should disclose cannabis data to support research

      Armstrong, Michael (Joule Inc, 2021-03-08)
      Despite cannabis legalization’s many potential impacts on Canadian society, provincial governments have disclosed few details about their recreational sales. Detailed proactive data disclosure, like that done in Colorado and Washington state, helps researchers understand legalization’s impacts and suggest regulatory improvements. To ensure Canada’s upcoming regulatory review is evidence-based, provinces must at least start monthly publication of the recreational cannabis sales data they already collect.
    • Relationships between increases in Canadian cannabis stores, sales, and prevalence

      Armstrong, Michael J. (Drug and Alcohol Dependence, 2021-09-22)
      Background: This study estimated the relationships between increases in legal cannabis stores, legal cannabis sales, and cannabis prevalence in Canadian provinces between 2018 and 2020. Method: Government data were used to calculate changes in licensed store numbers, retail sales dollars, and past-three-month users in 10 provinces across six time periods. The resulting N = 60 observations were standardized per million residents aged 15 and up, and then analyzed via linear regression. Results: Store growth explained 46.3% of the variation in provincial sales growth; each added store was associated with added quarterly sales of $305 (95% CI: $208 to $402) thousand. By contrast, store growth explained only 7.7% of the variation in provincial user growth; each added store was associated with 696 (95% CI: 58 to 1334) added users. Conclusion: From 2018 to 2020, Canada’s rapid cannabis retail expansion was strongly related to legal sales growth but only weakly related to prevalence growth. This implies prevalence growth during that period was related more to legalization’s other aspects and/or to the continuation of already-existing trends.