Atlantic Canadians still buying more pot than rest of Canada, sales figures show

Daniel Moore holds a package of pre-rolled cannabis cigarettes on Oct. 17, 2018. Alexander Quon/Global News

Atlantic Canadians continue to purchase more pot per capita than the rest of the country, according to new data from Statistics Canada.

The national statistics agency has recently released province-by-province sales numbers for the first two and a half months of legalization up to December 31, 2018.

Prince Edward Island remains on top, with Islanders spending an average of $21.95 on legal cannabis since Oct. 17. Nova Scotia comes in second with Bluenosers spending an average of $17.87 on legal pot.

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READ MORE: How much weed was sold on Canada’s legalization day, province-by-province

Both provinces had the largest sales per capita when we examined the first six weeks of legalization in January.

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Atlantic Canadians remain far ahead of any other region in the country when it comes to purchasing legal cannabis. Residents of Newfoundland and Labrador spent an average of $13.67 since legalization, while New Brunswickers spent an average of $10.99.

Industry expert Deepak Anand told Global News in January that the Atlantic provinces were reaping the benefits of being prepared for legalization.

“A province like New Brunswick came out very early on, and had a very early lead,” he said. “They saw not just recreational legalization but medical legalization coming on board, and they gave the whole cannabis file to their economic development ministry, that worked with companies that were producers to try to set up in the province.

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Statistics Canada’s cannabis trade figures cover legal recreational sales by brick-and-mortar stores and online sales.

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Across the rest of the country, Albertans have spent an average of $7.17 on legalized cannabis, Quebec residents have spent $3.49, Ontarians have spent $2.47, Saskatchewanians have spent $2.124 and British Columbians have spent $0.93.

If you’re surprised that British Columbia is so low on this list, you shouldn’t be. B.C. is unique due to its well-established and widely tolerated grey-market dispensaries.

“In effect, nothing significantly changed in B.C. on October 17, as it did perhaps for the rest of the country,” Anand told Global News.

READ MORE: One-third of cannabis buyers still using illicit dealers, according to IPSOS poll

The latest figures from Statistics Canada provide the first indication of what legal sales may look like in the Northwest Territories, Yukon and Manitoba, with the statistics agency providing sales totals for the first time in those regions.

Data from Nunavut remains unavailable.

With files from Patrick Cain

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