Spending On Legal Cannabis Surpasses The Black Market For First Time

Spending on legal cannabis outpaced the black market for the first time during the second quarter of this year, according to Statistics Canada.

In a major milestone for the licensed pot industry, spending on recreational cannabis reached $648 million in the second quarter of 2020, an increase of 74% from the same period last year. Meanwhile, spending on medical cannabis was flat at $155 million in the second quarter.

At the same time, Canadian household spending on illicit cannabis purchased on the black market fell to a new low of $784 million in the second quarter, said Statistics Canada. Taken together, the legal cannabis market now accounts for 50.5% of all cannabis related spending in Canada.

The milestone comes as many of Canada’s licensed producers continue to struggle to become profitable. There are now more than 1,100 retailers selling legal cannabis in Canada. Current retail sales figures suggest the annual market stands at around $2.4 billion.

Statistics Canada also released monthly figures for the cannabis industry's contribution to the country’s economy. The legal cannabis industry contributed $5.44 billion to Canada's gross domestic product (GDP) in June, while the illicit market accounted for about $3.89 billion.