With regards to the recent legalization of cannabis in Canada, people nationwide are now looking to establish themselves in the booming industry. Legal cannabis sales in Canada were over $1.5 billion in 2018 despite only being legalized in mid-October. If these trends continue in this direction, EVAMAX believes we will see the cannabis sector among some of the largest global industries in the future.
In comparison with other provinces, Alberta has successfully adapted and transitioned into the cannabis sector. Alberta finds itself ahead of the industry’s learning curve and sits atop of cannabis sales with respects to other provinces.
According to reports from BDS Analytics, Alberta contributed to approximately 38% of legal cannabis sales in 2018 despite having less than 12% of the Canadian population.
The per-capita legal cannabis sales in Alberta trump all other provinces by a large margin, even Ontario who has three times the population of Alberta yet still had lower cannabis revenues. As a matter of fact, the Alberta Gaming Liquor Cannabis (AGLC) placed a moratorium on licensed cannabis retailers due to a shortage of cannabis. Retailers were met with a high demand following legalization, forcing the AGLC to restrict the number of retailers to ensure everyone has a product to sell.
For those on the outside looking in, there may be confusion regarding how Canada’s 4th largest province is raking in the highest sales. One contributing factor is the fact that Alberta has significantly more licensed retailers than any other province.
Alberta has 75 licensed retailers which, up until April 2019, was 3 times more than Newfoundland, the province with the 2nd highest number of licensed retailers. The moratorium has backlogged over 600 applications from different retailers waiting to make their mark in the cannabis industry.
When looking at the big picture, many believed that Alberta would be atop of the industry shortly after legalization and would continue to be in the coming years. The main reason for this was the significantly high number of medical cannabis users in Alberta, 2.5%, compared to other provinces who are hovering around approximately 1%.
Alberta has evidently always had a high demand for cannabis, even when it was not fully regulated and legal in Canada. Stats show that approximately 60% of Albertans consume or lean towards consuming cannabis, which is higher than the national average.
Although Alberta is seen as an industry leader in Canada, many believe it has the potential to become an industry leader on a global scale as well. In these types of situations, EVAMAX has been assisting companies in growing their business through innovation funding and tax incentives/refunds.
With many large and established retailers already operating in the province, industry experts believe this will attract not only Canadian but also international companies. Their efforts have been recognized across the country with other provinces now seeking help from the nation’s leader of the cannabis industry.
Albertan companies, like High Tide Inc., are now advising cannabis companies in other provinces, such as Ontario, on regulatory issues including training and inventory. Even the AGLC is being sought out to advise other provinces in areas such as staff training. This shows the admiration of other provinces regarding the way Alberta has entered and expanded into the cannabis industry.
Considering the abundance of uncharted boundaries to be explored, there is uncertainty revolving around whether Alberta can keep its competitive edge over the other provinces. Regardless of what may happen, Alberta has proven to be an industry leader based on their balance of understanding both consumer and government needs.
Alberta has thrived ever since Canada’s legalization, with $200+ million spent on cannabis last year and an expected $1 billion annual sales (approximately) in 2024. The cannabis sector, in Canada especially, presents a unique opportunity as it is still maturing with numerous unknowns and uncertainties to be tested.