As the first world power to legalize cannabis at the federal level, Canada had some very high expectations when it unleashed legal pot onto shelves last October.
However, sales have so far fallen short of most predictions. Yahoo Finance reports that at this point an optimistic forecast for Canada’s first full year of legal cannabis sales would be CA$900 million (US$688 million). But even that number “would almost certainly be considered a disappointment” in the industry, Yahoo reports.
Drooping sales could be blamed on a number of factors, including a slow turnaround for cannabis licensing. Though federal agency Health Canada began this year with 900 licensing applications to review, it has only approved less than 200 licenses since 2013.
In addition, some say that the strict regulations in cannabis packaging have bogged down cannabis producers. Struggling to find companies which can manufacture the large amount of compliant packaging required for legal sales, some distributors have been forced to withhold their product from the shelves while they try to find a solution.
Despite some growing pains in the new market, there are signs that it is improving. Data from Statistics Canada shows that the legal cannabis has had a steep increase in sales in the last few months.
From last October until February of this year, sales were hovering at around the US$40 million mark, but March saw an all-time high of $46.62 million in sales. Sales spiked up even higher in the next two months, with April pulling in $57.05 million and May seeing $65.52 million in sales. So, there is hope for the nascent industry yet.
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