November, 2018 By DATAC
As the legalization of cannabis settles in, coming up on the one month mark, there are many challenges which have arisen in the legal sales arena. There have been issues across the country with the legal dispensaries, either online (ON) or store fronts (NB, QC) running out of product and experiencing website glitches. These bumps in the road for legal sales have meant that many recreational and medicinal users are turning to the black market to obtain their products.
Black market filling the holes
The black market for cannabis sales obviously existed prior to the legalization of cannabis last month, and just this fact alone means that they have a head start in sales. Many users, medicinal and recreational, are going to be hard to bring around to purchasing from legal sources. There are two main reasons for this, the first being that the legal sites (storefronts or online stores) have been running out since they opened their doors. Some have completely run out of all products, and have had to close their doors, while others are simply at very low stock and/or long wait times to obtain the product as things are on backorder.
As well as running out of products there are numerous products which will not be available legally until next year, such as edibles, which includes such things as cannabis-infused foods (from cakes to candies) as well as drinks. Cannabis concentrates are another product which will not be available via legal dispensaries until next year. The black market will have a stronghold on all of these, still not purchasable cannabis products, for at least a year, which also means buyers keeping their relationships with their illegal dispensers.
The second reason for a user choosing the black market is price. Particularly for those users who were already set up with a place to purchase, prior to legalization, deciding now to pay much more for the same thing they can already get, is a hard sell. There is variation from province to province with the cost of product from stores versus street, but the prices in stores can be up to $15 a gram with the average price on the street ranging from about $5 (Alberta) to around $7 (Ontario). It also seems that because the prices are high on the legal market it may have led to a drop in prices in the black market.