Michael J. Armstrong is an associate professor in the Goodman School of Business at Brock University near Niagara Falls, Canada. He holds a PhD in operations research, and teaches courses on operations management, quality improvement, and game theory. His past awards include a Fulbright Visiting Research Chair and a Chancellor’s Chair for Teaching Excellence. With respect to cannabis legalization, he is particularly interested in how government regulations interact with business practices to support or undermine public policy goals. In that regard he has given more than 200 news media interviews and published more than 30 opinion columns.
Legal cannabis market shares during Canada’s first year of recreational legalisation
Aims: This study estimated legal products’ share of Canada’s total cannabis consumption during its first year of recreational legalisation, October 2018 to September 2019.
Design: Government data was used to estimate market shares in product volume terms (percentage of kilograms or litres consumed). As possible explanatory factors, the analysis considered provincial differences in retail pricing (percentage mark-up) and retailer density (stores per million users), as well as national monthly production of finished dry cannabis (kilograms) and cannabis oil (litres).
Findings: Legal recreational products’ share of Canadian consumption began at 8% in October 2018 and grew to 24% by September 2019. Legal medical sales accounted for another 8.5% of consumption during this period. Recreational sales growth was slowed by shortages of dry cannabis products and licensed stores, but not cannabis oils. Across the 10 provinces, legal recreational shares in September 2019 varied from 13% to 71%; differences in pricing and store densities partly explained that variation. Prince Edward Island’s 71% share seemed due to it having minimal product shortages, high store densities, and low prices.
Conclusions: Legal recreational cannabis captured market share to the extent it was available, accessible, and low-priced. Problems with those factors slowed initial legalisation progress but suggested clear paths for subsequent improvement.
Armstrong MJ, “Legal cannabis market shares during Canada’s first year of recreational legalization”, accepted for publication in the International Journal of Drug Policy.