A report released earlier in the spring dictates that nearly $1 billion in black market cannabis was exported out of Canada last year. The vast majority of these shipments were illegal, according to Stat Can’s Head of National Economic Accounts. As the industry prepares to take on the black market, this report is disheartening for both lawmakers and cultivators working to supply Canada’s impending recreational boom. Most Canadians opt for black market sources, and with the price forecast for recreational cannabis, this may not change anytime soon.
According to the report, less than 1% of Canadian cannabis exports last year were from legal cannabis suppliers. To go one step further, only 10% of Canadians actually report using dispensaries to get their bud. Instead, these citizens prefer to buy from their local hook-up or dealer. The black market is currently set a bit over $6 per gram across Canada. When legal weed comes through, the price per gram should be around $10 in the rec. market. This report shows us that the black market could continue to thrive for some years into legality if the price discrepancies continue.
This is especially prevalent in provinces like Ontario, Nova Scotia, and Quebec. Their laws, when enacted, will shut down all privately owned dispensaries and will allow the sale of cannabis from government-licensed dispensaries only. Based-off the data and what we have already seen in the recreational markets in the legal states in the U.S, there will a lot of pushback from the black market as they fight to stay in business.
Cara Wietstock is a native Californian living in Washington state with almost a decade of budtender experience and even more stoner experience. While she's not pontificating on the current state of cannabis for Roottie, she is practicing yoga, sipping CBD infused teas and hiking through the Pacific Northwest.