On day one of legalization, the cheapest bud is being sold in Newfoundland
Prices depend on strain, brand, province, with many orders above $20 per gram
Canadians finally know what they will have to pay for legal recreational cannabis, as provincially controlled online stores opened for business Wednesday, charging between $5.87 and $17.50 per gram for the newly legalized drug.
Those prices varied depending on the strain, brand and province, and included excise taxes, but not sales tax and shipping fees, which pushed many orders above $20 per gram.
The most expensive legal gram of cannabis was in the Northwest Territories, at $17.50. The territory sells weed through its liquor stores, which currently only offer five brands to choose from.
The cheapest weed is being sold in Newfoundland and Labrador: according to product offerings on the provincial online cannabis store, a gram of dried flower sold by Eve & Co., which goes by the brand name The Advocate, can be bought at between $5.87 and $6.89 per gram. This specific strain contains between 15 to 23 per cent of THC, and zero to one per cent of CBD.
In the most populous provinces, a gram of pot was priced around the $7 to $13 range. For instance, the cheapest option for those buying from the Ontario Cannabis Store is a gram of “Strawberry Ice,” produced by Northern Harvest, which sells for $7.50. The most expensive is “Lemon Skunk”, produced by seed-specialist DNA Genetics and priced at $13.25 per gram. Both brands have a THC content of slightly over 20 per cent.
The Quebec government has said that cannabis in their provinciallyrun stores will be priced as low at $5.25 per gram, but on day one of legalization, the cheapest pot available in the SQDC seems to be Aphria’s adult-use brand Solei, which is priced at $8.50 per gram, and is of the Indica strain, which skews heavier in CBD content. The most expensive gram of legal weed in Quebec for now is Aurora’s “Banana Split,” priced at $11.30.
In British Columbia — where many unlicensed dispensaries have asserted that they have no intention of shutting down under the new legal regime — weed is priced between $6.99 and $13.99 per gram, excluding tax. The cheapest offering is an indica-dominant hybrid strain called “Shishkaberry” produced by Seven Oaks, an Indigenous-run brand based in Winnipeg.
The ability of the legal market to displace the black market rests heavily on price — an analysis conducted by the consulting firm Deloitte pre-legalization put the average price of illegal weed at $8.24 across Canada. That differed according to province with customers in Ontario willing to pay up to $8.33 for a gram of illegal weed, but those in Quebec paying only up to $7.53 per gram.
Chris James, who runs multiple illegal online dispensaries in Toronto, told the Financial Post that his prices are “half what the government charges,” and go as low as $3.50 per gram. “We’re charging $7 per gram for our most expensive strains,” James said. He claims that visits to his online dispensaries soared in the lead-up to legalization, on fears that unlicensed marijuana businesses would be shut down under the new legal cannabis regime.
“I’ve been hearing that the retailers in Alberta are saying it’s going to be $8.68 a gram — that’s their wholesale price from the government. Customers aren’t paying that! Right now for medical patients, I’m paying like $3 a gram, for the best stuff in the world and we’re charging people $5 a gram for that stuff,” James said.
At Albertacannabis.org, the government-run online store, the cheapest dried flower available was priced at $9.24 per gram. Private retailers will have to purchase their stock through the Alberta Gaming, Liquor and Cannabis Commission, which has said that it will charge an average of $8.90 per gram, including federal excise duty, provincial duty and GST.
Ian Power is first in line at the Tweed store in St. John’s, N.L. on Tuesday. He made history as the first person to buy legal cannabis for recreational use in Canada.