Your ‘guy’ or ‘the man’?

Published on January 10, 2019 by David Wylie

The tug of war between black market and legal cannabis is on.

To the surprise of nobody, Statistics Canada said this week that black market cannabis is selling for less than legal bud.

From Oct. 17 to Dec. 31 last year, the average price paid for dried cannabis from legal suppliers was $9.70, with illegal suppliers undercutting at $6.51.

Statistics Canada has been using a crowdsourcing platform that’s punnily called ‘StatsCannabis’ in its effort to capture changes in consumer behaviours.

When we first clicked on the BC Cannabis Store, we suffered sticker shock.

Polls have found that cost (of course) will be a factor in where people will buy pot. But there are other things that also come into play when deciding whether to buy from either your guy or the man – like selection, convenience, trust and reliability.


Bulk discounts, gender balance and newbies

  • Those buying from their illegal source tended to buy more in bulk: 17.2 grams, more than double the amount of cannabis purchased through legal methods. The average amount bought from legal suppliers was 8.3 grams.
  • Men are more likely to buy cannabis from a legal supplier than woman, with 49.8 percent of men purchasing from legal producers compared with 41.6 percent of females.
  • 23 of 300 respondents (7.7 percent) reported buying cannabis for the first time. Of those first-time buyers, 14 bought from legal sources. Overall, 17 of 23 respondents answered that they have begun consuming cannabis because it is now legal.

With emerging markets for medical and recreational cannabis, StatsCan now asks about the source (legal or illegal) and first time use. The new questions were in addition to the original questions related to price, location, consumption, quality and quantity purchased.

You ultimately choose

We predicted a price war from the start, and the licensed producers – LPs – are at an immediate disadvantage due to the increased capital costs of being a legit entity.

It comes down to consumers choosing where they want to get their pot. If they want the legal industry to grow and thrive, they’ll seek out those options.

We get it; living costs are expensive and who wants to pay more for their herb than they have to. But the choices we all make will have an early impact.

Here’s a poll from Castanet.

Okanagan news site Castanet’s poll on paying for legal pot