As Pot Prices Rise, Consumers are Split Between Black Market and Retail Buys: StatCan

Article by Hamdi Issawi, Toronto Star

As pot prices rise, consumers are split between black market and retail buys: StatCan By HAMDI ISSAWIStarMetro Edmonton Customers shop at Numo Cannabis in Edmonton on legalization day. A consumer survey by Statistics Canada looks at the price gap between legal and black-market buys.

Walking out of Numo Cannabis, a retail pot shop in north Edmonton, Brandon Hyde-Cormier just bought 3.5 grams for about $50. And while he’s happy to be holding, he can’t help but feel a little burned by the price.

“It’s crazy,” he said. “I’m not looking to throw money away.”

Having just arrived in the city from Saint John, N.B., where he said cannabis consumers can cop five grams for $40 on the street, he knows there are other routes to pick up. But besides being illegal, black-market buys also come with their own hazards and limitations — questionable quality control and variety, to name just a couple.

“It might be sketchy,” Hyde-Cormier said. “I probably would have still bought it in stores.”

On Wednesday, Statistics Canada released the results of a crowdsourced questionnaire aimed at getting a snapshot of cannabis consumer behaviour from Oct. 17, 2018, the day the drug was legalized in Canada, to the end of that year. Among its asks was the question of how much consumers were paying for weed.

Based on 385 respondents, the average price of pot post-legalization was $8.02 per gram, which is up 17.4 per cent from the pre-legalization price in 2018, pegged at $6.83.

However, the report specified, the cost calculation was for the “average unweighted price per gram,” meaning it did not adjust for special prices offered for bulk buys, Statistics Canada economist Conrad Barber-Dueck said.

Read the full article here.

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