Opinion: Lack of Price Transparency is Hurting Cannabis Consumers

Article by David Clement, Leafly News

CANADAINDUSTRYPOLITICS Opinion: Lack of Price Transparency is Hurting Cannabis Consumers DAVID CLEMENT Photo by Lindsay Elliott for Leafly Canada at City Cannabis in Vancouver

Saying that Canada’s cannabis rollout has been a rocky road would be a huge understatement. Since Oct. 2018, consumers have been faced with limited access, supply shortages, and steep prices.

And, while all levels of government seem to be attempting to address and accommodate access and supply problems, one issue that has not been properly addressed, however; is price transparency and price competition.

Black market prices are around $3, nearly 50%, cheaper per gram when compared to legal cannabis, according to Statistics Canada. Because of poor access, and high prices, one-third of all cannabis consumers purchase cannabis illegally and avoid the legal market altogether.

Sticker Shock

For consumers in provinces with legal storefronts, one concern being voiced is that they don’t know what prices will look like prior to entering the store. Cannabis advertising, which is incredibly over-regulated, never includes any information about prices at the various outlets. Some may think that the lack of price transparency is an attempt by retailers to get away with high markups, but there is more at play here.

The lack of price transparency from cannabis retailers is a result of the federal government making it illegal for retailers to advertise any information regarding price. More specifically, Section 17 (1) of the Cannabis Act states:

Unless authorized under this Act, it is prohibited to promote cannabis or a cannabis accessory or any service related to cannabis, including

(a) by communicating information about its price or distribution;

The only exception to this rule is that retailers are allowed to advertise price and availability at the point of sale, meaning once consumers have actually entered the store. Thus, the federal government has actually mandated that retailers be less transparent in their advertising, which can impede consumer choice.

Read the full article here.

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