Cannabis on black market is far less expensive than legal weed in Canada

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When the federal Liberals promised to legalize cannabis during the 2015 election campaign, they told Canadians that it would push criminals out of the business and reduce consumption by young people.

Two months after the Cannabis Act took effect, prices on the black market are nearly 50 percent cheaper than government-approved weed.

The StatsCannabis website, which was created by Statistics Canada, shows that dried cannabis purchased from illegal suppliers cost $6.51 per gram, on average. 

From October 17 to December 31, the price of legally purchased dried cannabis was $9.70 per gram, on average.

This was based on "385 plausible submissions" to the crowdsourcing site.

"The data also indicated that males are more likely to purchase cannabis from a legal supplier than females, with 49.8% of males purchasing from legal producers compared with 41.6% of females," Statistics Canada reported. "Males were also found to purchase in larger quantities from both legal and illegal sources, however, for both females and males, the average quantity purchased was much higher for those who purchased from illegal sources than legal sources."

There are regulatory issues that legal cannabis sellers must address at the federal, provincial, and civic levels of government, which can add to the cost of doing business.

Licensed producers face added expenses meeting requirements of securities commissions and stock exchanges if they want their shares to be listed.