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)

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

Just Posted

An SUV sits where it crashed through the front window of the 2:18 Run store in Fairfield Plaza, after the driver appeared to lose control on Monday afternoon. (Photo by Phil Nicholls)
Driver crashes through front window of Victoria running store in Fairfield

Phil Nicholls of 2:18 Run said crash sounded like an earthquake at first

Processed sewage is still being deposited at the Hartland landfill rather than sent as biosolids to a Richmond cement plant. (Black Press Media file photo)
Biosolids at Hartland still being placed on landfill in Saanich

Richmond cement plant up and running, but CRD end product not suitable for purpose

Seismic upgrading and expansion work at Victoria High School is about a year behind due to pandemic-related factors, the Greater Victoria School District announced. (Photo by Cole Descoteau)
Victoria High School seismic work, expansion a year behind schedule

Greater Victoria School District now targeting September 2023 for reopening of historic school

Elk Lake Drive area resident Michael Blayney protests a proposed multi-building development for his Royal Oak neighbourhood, outside Saanich municipal hall on Monday (June 14). (Photo by Megan Atkins-Baker/News Staff)
Demonstrators protest 11-storey development on Elk Lake Drive in Saanich

Saanich locals gather at municipal hall to protest development, public hearing goes Tuesday

The Greater Victoria Harbour Authority is calling on Transport Canada to rescind its ban to Feb. 28, 2022 on cruise ship stops in Canada, to allow planning to begin in advance of a reopening of the cruise industry next year.
Greater Victoria Harbour Authority seeks end to federal ban on cruise ship stops in Canada

Greater Victoria Harbour Authority CEO hopes cruises will resume by 2022

Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau participates in a plenary session at the G7 Summit in Carbis Bay, England on Friday June 11, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian Wyld
Canada donating 13M surplus COVID-19 vaccine doses to poor countries

Trudeau says the government will pay for 87 million shots to be distributed to poor countries

Montreal Canadiens goaltender Carey Price (31) is scored on by Vegas Golden Knights defenseman Alec Martinez, not pictured, during the second period in Game 1 of an NHL hockey Stanley Cup semifinal playoff series Monday, June 14, 2021, in Las Vegas. (AP Photo/John Locher)
Habs fall 4-1 to Vegas Golden Knights in Game 1 of NHL semifinal series

Match was Montreal’s first game outside of Canada in 2021

Kelowna-Lake Country MLA Norm Letnick, assistant deputy speaker at the B.C. legislature, presides over committee discussions. The legislature is completing its delayed spring session this week, with most MLAs participating by video conference. (Hansard TV)
B.C.’s daily COVID-19 infections dip below 100 over weekend

Only 68 new cases recorded Monday, four additional deaths

Neighbours fight a small late-night bush fire with garden hoses and shovels in Cinnabar Valley on June 5. They couldn’t get help from local fire services because the fire was located in an area under B.C. Wildfire Services jurisdiction. (Photo courtesy Muriel Wells)
Neighbours on edge of Nanaimo city limits left to put out bush fire themselves

Cinnabar Valley residents tackle fire with hoses and buckets for two and a half hours

Darren Campbell’s truck (pictured) was stolen when he stopped to check on a car in a ditch on Cowichan Bay Road on Monday morning. (Facebook photo)
Vancouver Island Good Samaritan’s truck stolen in nasty trick

‘Try to be a Good Samaritan and my $20,000 truck gets stolen right under my nose’

The Kamloops Indian Residential School is photographed using a drone in Kamloops, B.C., Monday, June, 14, 2021. The remains of 215 children were discovered buried near the former school earlier this month. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward
Communities grapple with what to do with former residential and day schools

Some tear them down as a tool to help healing, others repurpose them as tools for moving forward

Creative handmade signs abound at the June 13 Tofino rally for old growth trees. (Nora O’Malley photo)
VIDEO: Tofino stands in solidarity for Fairy Creek Blockades

Over 150 supporters attend rally hosted by Friends of Clayoquot Sound

FILE – Provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry talks about B.C.’s plan to restart the province during a press conference at Legislature in Victoria, Tuesday, May 25, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Chad Hipolito
B.C. watching U.K.’s COVID struggles but don’t think province will see similar pitfalls

Studies show that one dose of vaccine is only 33 per cent effective in preventing B.1.617.2 spread

RCMP Const. Shelby Patton is shown in this undated handout photo. RCMP say that Patton was hit by an allegedly stolen truck that he had pulled over on Saturday morning in Wolseley, east of Regina. THE CANADIAN PRESS/HO, RCMP
Pair charged in Saskatchewan Mountie’s death make first court appearance

Const. Shelby Patton was hit by an allegedly stolen truck that he had pulled over Saturday morning

Most Read