In the first quarter of 2020, Alberta retailers brought in approximately $107 million in sales. Being the province with the highest number of retail stores, the Alberta market is constantly competing with Ontario for the most sales, the two switching places almost monthly. Despite this, Alberta Gaming, Liquor and Cannabis (AGLC) is running at a loss.
In a recently released First Quarter Update, the Government of Alberta reported that AGLC revenue for cannabis came in at a loss of $14 million last quarter. On the bright side, it was considerably less than they had expected, budgeting for a $36 million loss. Last year, as the province adjusted to the introduction of cannabis sales, the AGLC reported a loss of $33.9 million.
Alberta, as a province, generally has a lot going for it as far as revenue. Between natural resources and agriculture, the rest of Canada kind of sees it as their rich cousin. Like everyone, though, COVID threw them for a loop. Having just released their 2020 budget around two weeks before the World Health Organization declared a global pandemic, they had to do some quick shuffling around to make sure they could make things work.
Thankfully, people are spending more on cannabis during COVID, leaving the province with $76 million in cannabis tax to work with, which is $2 million more than they budgeted for.
In the province, Alberta Cannabis, a branch of the AGLC, is responsible for licensing cannabis retailers and procuring and distributing cannabis to them, as well as selling cannabis online to the public.