The average cost of legal pot by province one year into legalization

Published Nov 3, 2019 12:00 p.m. ET
iStock / Yaman Mutart

Marijuana legalization in Canada is a milestone that many Canadians celebrated, but the excitement quickly faded as interested customers learned what it would cost them to buy the legal product. In most markets, once a material becomes legal, it reduces in cost, but that was not the case with cannabis in Canada.

Black-market vs legal marijuana

Taking the risk of running a black-market marijuana dispensary isn’t cheap, and the added expense that is necessary to operate in the shadows on a smaller scale is typically passed onto the customer. One example of this would be with pharmaceuticals that cost a few dollars at a pharmacy to obtain legally while fetching thousands on the streets.

Unfortunately, when the first marijuana dispensary opened to the public on October 17, 2018, the average cost of a gram of weed was just over double that of the black-market herb. That alone seemed to be enough to scare off many of the customers that were expected to take part in the new legal market. The high projection models when sales were initially predicted were quickly reassessed, and it didn’t take long for the message to get through. One that clearly made the point that Canadians were not satisfied with the costly system in place.

Who is to blame for the lack of successes with marijuana legalization?

There was plenty of finger-pointing over this past year with growers blaming the government for refusal to administer licenses, dispensaries casting doubt with both the growers for the so-called shortage and the government for a massive tax contributing to sky-high prices.

Consumers are more mixed with who they believe is at fault, with some pointing towards the government and the way they handled the rollout of marijuana legalization leading to a lack of sufficient access or product choices, and others blaming corporate greed for turning something that was supposed to be a great thing into just another paycheck.

Now that we have had an entire year to sit back, watch and reflect on where some things have gone wrong, the atmosphere within Canada’s cannabis industry is changing. There has been a clear and well-demonstrated need to add more competition to the market, which seems to be catching on faster in areas like Saskatchewan with a similar marijuana dispensary model.

The provincial government of Saskatchewan just announced that beginning early 2020, applications will be accepted from anyone who would qualify to run a business, but not all areas are on board. With many like Ontario having just finished their second lottery for marijuana dispensary licenses, some Canadians are wondering if anything has changed and if it hasn’t when we might expect to see a positive difference.

One that offers a cost and experience similar to or competitive with that of black-market dispensaries who are offering many lower-priced goods and extras like edibles and vape juice that can’t yet be sold out of any legal marijuana dispensary in Canada. The introduction of edibles to the public won’t be happening for a few weeks yet, so this is the perfect time to see just how much just the average cost of a gram of weed is across the country.

The average cost of a legal gram of weed by province

Here you will find two averages for each province, and it is important to note the difference between them.

The per-package average is the median cost of a package, including all varying sizes and amounts divided into individual grams.

Per gram of weed means exactly what it says, so if you were to visit a marijuana dispensary in that region and buy only one gram, that is the price you should expect. This indifference is due to the influence of bulk pricing, which lowers the average cost per gram when larger amounts are purchased.


Per package: $14.57
Per gram of weed: $12.05

British Columbia
Per package: $9.48
Per gram of weed: $12.99

Per package: $12.30
Per gram of weed: $18.00

New Brunswick
Per package: $11.50
Per gram of weed: $11.91

Per package: $8.88
Per gram of weed: $12.99

Nova Scotia
Per package: $7.73
Per gram of weed: $11.95

Per package: $10.94
Per gram of weed: $11.47

Prince Edward Island
Per package: $9.13
Per gram of weed: $10.08

Per package: $7.95
Per gram of weed: $13.23

Per package: $12.84
Per gram of weed: $12.95

Per package: $13.92
Per gram of weed: $14.13

Most consumers are looking for the most affordable option that doesn’t sacrifice quality. With this helpful list of average prices, it is easy to see where you can get the best bang for your buck. The most interesting thing about all of this is that regions with the lowest price also host the most physical storefront marijuana dispensary locations, which suggests that a bit of healthy competition is enough to force pot shop owners to offer an incentive to get loyal customers coming through the door.

Will legal edibles help to combat the black market in Canada


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