Legal recreational cannabis sales declined across the country in September, with New Brunswick charting one of the largest month-over-month drops, according to the latest data from Statistics Canada released Friday morning. Approximately $123 million in legal adult-use cannabis was sold across Canada, down 2.4% from $126 million in sales in August.
New Brunswick, the province that is looking to sell its retail weed business to the private sector because of compounding losses, selling 40% less cannabis in September than it did. The previous month, according to Stats Can data. The province took in just $3.3 million from in September, compared to $5.4 million in August.
Ontario saw a six percent decline in cannabis sales from August, bringing in $31.8 million compared to $33.8 million the month before.
September recreational cannabis sales increased by 4.7% in Quebec, where there are currently 28 legal retail stores in operation. Cannabis sales could take a hit in Quebec in 2020, given that as of Jan. 1, Quebecers under 21 will not be legally allowed to purchase or consume cannabis. Quebec has banned the sales and consumption of cannabis edibles which was made legal across the country in October.
“ In my view, part of September’s sales drop was due to the 30 day month compared to August’s 31 day month. Most stores are open 7 days a week,” wrote Chris Damas, author of The BCMI Report in a note to clients.
Damas’ analysis of Friday’s data showed that provinces with private cannabis stores saw sales decline by one percent, and while mainly government stores saw sales decline by 5.3%.
Sentiment towards the pot sector has turned bearish over the last month, as major licensed producers struggle its declining revenue and growing inventory and the looming prospect of further price drops. Although Friday’s data showed a drop in overall sales from cannabis stores, it is unclear how much of that drop is due to pricing adjustments by retailers.
Industry participants are casting blame on the Ontario government for not opening more stores across the country’s largest province, in tandem with growing supply. On Thursday evening, Ontario premier Doug Ford hosted that the province would move towards an open allocation system of stores “eventually” but declined to specifically state what timeline would you like.