Disastrous cannabis rollout cost Ontario $325 million compared to Alberta: analyst
The Cannalysts, an independent analysis firm, released data this week showing that if Ontario had followed Alberta’s model, the province would have stimulated an extra $325 million in economic activity. On a yearly basis, the analysis notes, the province is missing out on around $488 million more, in addition to $75 million in taxes.
“Alberta is the poster child for a progressive rollout,” Craig Wiggins, a managing director with The Cannalysts, told The GrowthOp. “They’ve beaten everybody. They’re drinking everybody’s milkshake.”
Ontario has roughly three times the population as Alberta, so Wiggins took the Western province’s cannabis sales to this point, multiplied it by three and then subtracted Ontario’s actual sales from that figure to arrive at the glaring discrepancy.
Wiggins points a finger directly at the Ontario government for the lost opportunity. The province has just 24 cannabis retail stores in operation compared to 300-plus in Alberta. Fifty more licences were recently awarded in Ontario, but the lotteries themselves were contentious procedures that Wiggins said he is happy the province won’t be doing again.
“It is hard to fathom why the Conservative government has been this inept at doing something that Alberta clearly could do,” he said. “And the response from the government that there wasn’t enough cannabis — how did Alberta open up 300 stores. I think we’re at 323 now. How did they license 323 stores if there wasn’t enough cannabis? It’s insane.”
Wiggins said it would be one thing if the government had announced concrete plans for new stores, but all the industry is seeing in Ontario is uncertainty and layoffs. “You would think the Conservative government would care about jobs and new tax streams. If this was the auto industry, they would have done something,” he argued.
The answer for the province lies in removing the cap on dispensaries and supporting a sector that is trying to get off of its knees and start walking, Wiggins said. “It took a year for Alberta to roll out 300 or so licences. There’s no reason Ontario, with its population, couldn’t do two to three times that if its resourced correctly,” he said.
“Don’t tell me the new 50 stores are coming — Alberta was doing 10 stores a week.” – thegrowthop.com
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Marijuana has been legal in Canada for over a year now. Thunder Bay still does not have a store open. When that store finally does open, the city with a population of over 100,000 will have one store. One. Owned by someone from outside of the region. Not local.
The whole lottery system was a joke. Its still a joke. Too few stores over too long a period.
Governments do not know how to make money. They only know how to spend it.