Article by Sean Williams, Motley Fool
Over the next decade, there’s a very good possibility that marijuana will be the fastest growing industry in North America. Depending on which Wall Street forecast you prefer, the legal cannabis industry could grow anywhere between 12% and 17% per year, through 2030.
But that’s not the case in the early going. Although Canada became the first industrialized country in the world to green-light recreational marijuana in October, the ramp up of adult-use weed in our neighbor to the north has not gone smoothly.
Canadian pot sales hit a new high in March, but don’t uncork the Champagne
Last week, on May 22, Statistics Canada released its monthly trade sales data for March for a variety of industries, which now includes cannabis stores. Since marijuana is such a tightly regulated industry in Canada, sales data reported to Statistics Canada is considered to be of extremely high quality, and therefore pretty darn accurate.
According to the May 22 release, cannabis store sales in March hit an all-time high, but that isn’t exactly saying much when compared with the other months recreational pot has been legal since sales began on Oct. 17, 2018. Here’s a rundown of cannabis store sales since October, as reported in Canadian dollars (CA$), with U.S. dollar equivalency in parenthesis:
- October 2018: CA$53.68 million ($39.98 million)
- November 2018: CA$53.73 million ($40.01 million)
- December 2018: CA$57.34 million ($42.7 million)
- January 2019: CA$54.88 million ($40.87 million)
- February 2019: CA$51.66 million ($38.47 million)
- March 2019: CA$60.54 million ($45.08 million)
As you can see, Canadian pot sales reversed a surprising two–month decline in January and February from the previous record-high sales total in December, although they’ve advanced very minimally from what was sold in the two-week period of Oct. 17-31 following the launch of recreational cannabis.
Furthermore, you’ll note that aggregate sales over the past 5 1/2 months total just $247.11 million, putting the industry on track for perhaps $550 million to $600 million in trailing first-year sales on an extrapolated basis. That might sound great, but it’s really not, considering that Wall Street has been calling for between $5 billion and $6 billion in annual Canadian pot sales by as soon as 2022.