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B.C. legal cannabis sales jump 13.8 per cent in October

Higher possession limit for cannabis drinks could fuel future sales growth for the sector
Canada upped its possession limit for cannabis-laced drinks from five to 48 on Dec. 2

B.C.'s legal cannabis sales have risen on a year-over-year basis each month for years, thanks to new stores opening, a wider range of products offered and successful provincial efforts at combatting black-market sales.

That trend continued in October, when sales rose 13.8 per cent year-over-year to $57,503,000, according to Statistics Canada.

Cannabis-product sales in B.C. may get a boost in December and in 2023 given that Health Canada earlier this month increased the country's legal limit for possessing cannabis-laced drinks by 860 per cent, to 48 355-ml cans, up from five 355-ml cans. That change took effect on Dec. 2.

Cannabis-laced drinks remain a small part of overall legal cannabis-product sales but consumers' ability to now buy six-packs or larger-sized containers could result in more revenue for retailers.

B.C.'s record month for legal cannabis sales was September, when British Columbians shelled out $61,654,000 on cannabis products – up 25.3 per cent from the $49,197,000 spent in September 2021. Statistics Canada revised and increased its data for September sales, as its original data released last month said that B.C. residents spent $59,424,000on legal cannabis products in September.

Canada-wide, consumers spent $389,151,000 on legal cannabis products in October, which was up 9.5 per cent from the same month in 2021. Statistics Canada also revised and increased its data for legal September cannabis sales nationwide, to $392,259,000, from $389,869,000.

July is the record month nationally for legal cannabis sales, as consumers spent $392,867,000 on those products, according to the nation's number cruncher. 

There was some speculation earlier this year that B.C.'s legal cannabis sales would fall year-over-year in August because of the two-week British Columbia General Employees Union (BCGEU) strike that ended Aug. 30. That job action caused the flow of legal cannabis to slow to a trickle and some consumers to potentially return to buying products from the black market. 

Statistics Canada data, however, show that this did not happen, as British Columbians spent what had been an all-time monthly record of $59,089,000 on legal cannabis in August, up 18.7 per cent from August 2021.

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