The law-abiding stoner citizens of our Neighbor to the North are eating big costs since their government legalized weed. The CBC reports that since Canada went ahead and OK’ed recreational cannabis last October, the price per gram has shot up 17 percent.

Back before legalization last fall, a Canadian statistics firm, appropriately named Statistics Canada, recorded hundreds of price points for weed, both legal and illegal. At the end of the year, the firm did the same thing and found a big difference: the price tag on pot had risen from $6.83 to $8.02 for a gram (CSD).

But pricing surges have not affected the black and white cannabis markets equally. That 17 percent increase represents an average for all the cannabis bought and sold in Canada, both legal and illegal.

However, if you look at the price of legal weed, the pricing spike is much higher. At the end of December, shady cannabis purchased on the down low only cost $6.51 a gram, but legit weed went for $9.70. That’s roughly a 50 percent increase from illegal to legal suppliers.

Experts agree that there are two major reasons for the surge in pricing: taxes and lack of competition.

As in most legalized cannabis states, the newborn legal pot in Canada was slapped with multiple taxes before it was even out of the womb.

David Clement is the North American affairs manager for the global consumer advocacy group Consumer Choice Centre. He says that Canadian legal cannabis has had to contend with federal taxes, provincial taxes, and new licensing costs placed on producers which trickle down to the consumer. All of that, naturally, boosts the cost per gram.

In addition, Canada has not licensed all that many retailers yet, with some provinces having only a couple dozen shops to cover its entire population. That means a lack of competition, which means, to a degree, retailers can charge what they will.

That, of course, means there’s still love to go around to the black market dealers. Statistics Canada also found that, of first time buyers, roughly 39 percent got their stuff from illegal sources. Interestingly they also found a division of lawful weed purchases among gender lines, with women more likely to go to the old fashioned dealers than their male counterparts.

Photo via Flickr user Dank Depot