Toronto might boast the most legal cannabis sales of any Canadian city, but its residents lag far behind those in Calgary and even Quebec City when it comes to per-capita spending on recreational products.
Data from Canada’s federal statisticians offers early insights into how much legal cannabis is being sold in some of the country’s largest urban centers and how effectively provinces are opening new stores to reroute illegal sales to regulated channels.
The data reveals which cities are underperforming compared to other large cities, where illicit sales still rule and where the best potential opportunities might remain for aspiring retailers in underserved markets – provincial legal frameworks and regulations notwithstanding.
The data also sheds light on previously unreported trends, including:
Cities that experienced the heaviest cannabis stockpiling as coronavirus pandemic lockdowns took effect in 2020.
Interprovincial shopping trends stemming from Quebec raising its minimum age to buy cannabis from 18 to 21.
Legal cannabis spending per capita in Canada’s biggest cities.
From a raw data perspective, Toronto led the country in sales in January 2021 at 39 million Canadian dollars ($31 million), according to the most recent Statistics Canada figures.
Montreal and Edmonton were a distant second and third, respectively, with cannabis store sales of CA$21.2 million and CA$19.1 million.
In all of 2020, Toronto was the clear leader with CA$334 million in sales – or 12.7% of all regulated recreational cannabis revenue in Canada.
Montreal was next with CA$217 million that year, while Edmonton saw approximately CA$189 million in legal marijuana sales.
The three cities accounted for 28.1% of Canada’s CA$2.6 billion of cannabis sales in 2020.
Statistics Canada discloses cannabis store sales in nine of the country’s largest census metropolitan areas.
The nine cities accounted for 52% of Canada’s estimated population in 2020 and 47% of all recreational cannabis sales in regulated channels in the nation that year.
While Toronto is the leader in Canada when it comes to nominal cannabis sales, the nation’s largest city by population is nowhere near the top when it comes to per-person spending on recreational marijuana.
Torontonians spent CA$50.95 per person on legal cannabis products last year on average, ahead of Montreal, Gatineau, Quebec, and last-place Vancouver, British Columbia.
Edmonton and Calgary in Alberta were the leaders with per-person cannabis spending totaling CA$128.85 and CA$99.61, respectively.
Winnipeg, Manitoba, was third at CA$90.26 per person.