CCSI image 1 2022-01-14

*The provincial excise taxes vary. Cannabis Benchmarks estimates the population weighted average excise tax for Canada.

**CCSI is inclusive of the estimated Federal & Provincial cannabis excise taxes..

The CCSI was assessed at C$5.08 per gram this week, up 1.2% from last week’s C$5.02 per gram. This week’s price equates to US$1,834 per pound at the current exchange rate.

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This week we review Canada’s recreational cannabis store count. The number of stores continues to climb steadily across the country, making the legal cannabis system more accessible to consumers, or in some cases increasing competition amongst retailers in more saturated local markets. 

Our latest count shows the number of stores open for business reached 2,967 as of the end of December. That figure is up by 1,562 stores, or a jump of  111%, compared to December 2020. As can be seen in the chart below, we expect that trend to continue throughout this year but at a slightly slower rate.

SOURCE: Cannabis Benchmarks

With each province having different licensing processes, we have seen different growth rates in the number of retailers over the past year. Some provinces still have a public ownership model for brick and mortar stores, while the provinces with the largest number of stores have typically privatized the retail sector. 

Ontario had always been set up for private stores, but the method of issuing licenses changed from a limited lottery system to a more open licensing process in early 2020. Subsequently, Ontario was the shining star for the cannabis space, with 1,093 new stores open during the 2021 calendar year. After the slowest initial rollout of licensed stores among all provinces, Ontario now has 1,417 stores. This figure is double that of Alberta, but there is still room to grow. Ontario’s population is 3.3 times that of Alberta, therefore we could see Ontario’s store count continue to grow to over 2,400 to have an equivalent per-capita level to Alberta.