B.C. Public Safety Minister Mike Farnworth and Attorney General David Eby attend opening of the first government-run B.C. Cannabis Store, Kamloops, Oct. 19, 2018. (B.C. government)

No surge in pandemic pot sales, latest B.C. sales figures show

Steady growth in legal cannabis sales through early 2020

The COVID-19 sales surge that depleted store shelves of toilet paper, disinfectants, baking products and booze has not carried over into legal marijuana, according to the latest sales figures from the B.C. government.

Sales from licensed private and public cannabis retail stores continued the steady rise of early 2020 through March and April, with a slight decline in dollar value in May, sales figures from the Ministry of Public Safety show. More than three million grams of cannabis or equivalent in concentrates were sold in May through the province’s monopoly wholesaler.

By dollar value, B.C. sales declined from $19,715,535 in April to $19,435,1818 in May, suggesting more lower-value purchases for the month. Overall, sales by weight and value have increased from $17.6 million in January, with a dip in February before widespread shutdown of business and employment due to pandemic public health measures.

By contrast, the B.C. Liquor Distribution Branch reported a jump of more than 21 per cent in alcohol sales for March and April, even as bars, pubs and many restaurants shut down.

A poll released June 9 by the Canadian Centre on Substance Use and Addiction found that while 20 per cent of people forced to stay home were drinking every day, 80 per cent of respondents said their consumption was about the same or less during the pandemic. Participants in the Nanos survey cited stress and boredom for increased drinking.

Actual cannabis use has to include the black market, which carries on as the majority supplier of B.C. recreational cannabis after many years of providing an estimated half of Canada’s production. The province’s figures for cannabis are only for the legal market, where B.C. lags far behind Alberta, Ontario and Quebec as of April, the latest sales figures available from Statistics Canada show.

RELATED: B.C. launches cannabis ‘navigator’ for small producers

RELATED: Kootenay cannabis growers get $676,000 grant

The B.C. government has met with cannabis industry groups, including the Nelson-based Craft Cannabis Association of B.C. the B.C. Craft Farmers Cooperative, which has released its proposal to increase B.C.’s legal production. The province maintains a monopoly on wholesale and online sales, through government-owned B.C. Cannabis Stores.

“Many of the issues raised in the [Craft Farmers] proposal align with items the Province is actively considering – for example farm to gate sales and online sales – which could have a significant impact on the legal cannabis industry’s overall competitiveness while also supporting the transition of legacy producers,” said a statement released to Black Press Media by Public Safety Minister Mike Farnworth’s office June 19. “The proposal also identifies concerns shared by the Province about federally authorized personal medical cannabis production and the amount of medical cannabis being diverted to the illicit market. This is something we have raised with Health Canada and will continue to voice our concerns about.”

Federal growing licences were given to commercial medical growers, and people growing small amounts to supply registered patients prescribed cannabis for their illness during the years when only medical use was legal.


@tomfletcherbc
tfletcher@blackpress.ca

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

BC legislaturecannabisCoronavirus

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Vernon’s pump prices second lowest in B.C.

Gasoline prices range from 102.9-114.9 cents per litre in North Okanagan city

First degree murder charges for North Okanagan woman

59-year-old woman charged in Round Lake suspicious death incident

Tours connect North Okanagan to history

Museum makes August all about field trips

Community Champion: Jake and Mary Spoor feel blessed to give back to Vernon

As immigrants themselves, Mary and Jake understand how isolating it can feel in a new country

Get Outdoors!: Rattlesnakes Are Fascinating! Part 2

Columnist Roseanne Van Ee provides information about rattlesnakes in the North Okanagan

B.C. records 146 new COVID-19 cases through long weekend

More that 28 people tested positive for the virus each day since Friday

COVID-19 vaccine efforts provide hope but no silver bullet to stop pandemic: Tam

There are more than two dozen vaccines for COVID-19 in clinical trials around the world

Passengers escape unharmed from destructive houseboat fire in Shuswap

Cause of blaze on Mara Lake under investigation, flames erupt at 2 a.m. Aug. 4

Alberta vehicles allegedly damaged in Summerland

Lug nuts loosened, windows smashed in several instances in Okanagan community

Interior Health reports nine new cases of COVID-19, 149 linked to Kelowna

Nine new cases were reported in the Interior Health region over the long weekend’s four reporting periods

Former Kelowna resident makes fundraising goal for cancer fertility treatments

Rebecca Hamilton recieved a boost in a battle against cancer - $25,000 for post chemo treatments

Study shines light on what makes LGBTQ+ youth feel safe in a community

The study goes beyond looking at school or family supports

Alberta to require masks at schools this fall, but still no mandate in B.C.

B.C. students are also set to return to classrooms in September

UPDATE: Water bombers attack wildfire north of Sicamous above Shuswap Lake

Wildfire BC reports fire is still classified out of control, 25 personnel on ground

Most Read