After 4 years of legalization, Alberta is finally making a profit on cannabis

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Four years after the legalization of cannabis, theAlberta Gaming Liquor and Cannabis (AGLC), which supplies the province with cannabis, is expected to make a profit of $7 million on cannabis, according to the 2022-23 provincial budget.

This could represent a change of C$18 million in revenue compared to a loss of C$11 million forecast for the fiscal year ending March 31, according to the Canadian provincial government.

The announcement comes as the AGLC prepares to shut down its retail cannabis website on March 8, giving up its monopoly on legal online cannabis sales, which accounted for approximately 1.5% of the legal Alberta market. .

At the same time, Alberta government tax revenue from private cannabis sales is projected to increase from a forecast of $145 million in the current fiscal year to $157 million in 2022-23, a 8% increase.

By comparison, that $157 million is well over double the $73 million expected from the province’s tourism tax, but is well below the $644 million in tobacco and smoking tobacco taxes projected for the province. coming year.

The AGLC and at least one cannabis retailer said part of the expected increase in revenue can be explained by a further 6% increase in the wholesale price of products, which took effect on Friday and will be passed on to consumers, who have so far benefited from a very low price for their cannabis.

“Arguably Alberta has the cheapest cannabis in the country and it will always be cheaper than BC, Manitoba and certainly Quebec,” said Ryan Roch, owner of Lake City Cannabis. , to the Calgary Herald. According to him, the tax will add about $1 to a package of pre-rolls.

A growing industry since legalization.

“Cannabis net income is expected to remain strong in 2022-23 and includes the implementation of the wholesale mark-up,” the AGLC said. “The cannabis industry has continued to grow in revenue since legalization, with product lines expanding and retailers expanding. »

The growing number of cannabis stores in the province – which has now licensed 752 outlets, half the number of liquor stores in Alberta – plays a big role in access to cannabis. At the same time, the number of cannabis users has not increased significantly over the past four years.

Federal regulations that limit the THC content of edibles and concentrates also favors illicit sellers.

According to Statistics Canada, cannabis sales in Alberta last December were up 3% from a year earlier.

While some businesses have been closed or placed under heavy restrictions during the waves of the COVID-19 pandemic, cannabis and liquor stores have been deemed essential services and allowed to operate almost normally.

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