Once a year the Newfoundland and Labrador Liquor Corporation (NLC) gives its suppliers the chance to change the price of their goods depending on how healthy or unhealthy the economy is.
While the price of alcohol (beer, wine, spirits, and coolers) rose by an average of over four percent, cannabis prices dropped by six percent. These lower cannabis prices have been in effect in NL since April 1, 2022.
The rising cost of fuel was listed as a reason for the rising cost of alcohol as was the knock-on effect of the highest level of inflation (5.7%) Canada has experienced since the early 1990s. According to the statement, the drop in cannabis prices was “largely driven by the fact that [cannabis] is still a new and emerging market, all licensed producers are located in Canada (thus negating international shipping and supply chain concerns), and there is a significant oversupply of product currently in the market. The decrease in retail prices on cannabis will also assist NLC and its partners in further disrupting the illicit market.”
Despite recreational and medicinal cannabis becoming completely legal in Canada in October of 2018 many Canadians have remained loyal to the illicit market. A survey conducted by Statista found that over 50% of all cannabis purchases in Canada were completed via legal channels in 2021. But a little over a quarter (26%) of all cannabis purchases in Canada last year were reportedly made in the dual zone (both illicit and legal). Meanwhile 12% claimed to be getting their cannabis solely from illicit sources.
The government has actively tried to keep cannabis out of the hands of criminals and those under the age of 19. While quality and safety are reasons why customers choose the legal route, price tends to be a prime reason why many choose to stay in the illicit or dual zone. Therefore, the price drop from the “oversupply” of cannabis in NL should, in theory, persuade more customers to buy legally moving forward.