“When the prices are now wildly out of line with one another, that probably impacts trust quite a bit.”

Neither varying tax rates and provincial population can account for discrepancies in prices. HighGradeRoots / iStock / Getty Images Plus

Some provinces appear to be extracting a lot more cash from customers than others on the exact same products.

The price of cannabis extracts, capsules, sprays and oils vary wildly between provincially run cannabis stores, with Ontario consumers sometimes paying as much as three times more than those living elsewhere, according to an analysis by CBC News.

The analysis compared prices on 61 products in the Ontario Cannabis Store (OCS) in December 2019, with the same items from B.C., Alberta, Quebec, Nova Scotia, New Brunswick, PEI and Newfoundland and Labrador, provinces where the government serves as both cannabis wholesaler and retailer.

For more than half of the products examined, the difference between the lowest and highest price across the country was more than 50 percent. Numbers show the same product cost three times as much in some stores than others.

Of the 36 products available in Ontario and B.C., 25 were cheaper out west. On average, Ontario reportedly charged almost a third more than B.C. for some of the same products. Similar disparities presented themselves in comparisons between Ontario and Alberta.

Of the 36 products available in Ontario and B.C., 25 were cheaper out west. / Photo: Sirisak Piyatharo / iStock / Getty Images Plus Sirisak Piyatharo / iStock / Getty Images Plus

“That doesn’t really sit well with me,” said Jessica Nudo, a partner at Nudo & Rook Communications who who relies on products from the OCS to help treat her migraines. “I’d consider myself more of a medical consumer with a touch on the recreation,” Nudo said.

Her own comparisons have also revealed that Ontario is “on the higher end of the spectrum” when it comes to pricing, she said.

Rishi Malkani, who works for consulting firm Deloitte, said there are many factors that affect price fluctuations, such as varying tax rates and provincial population, but that neither of those seem to account for the discrepancy. “The provinces are still kind of, you know, feeling out what’s selling, what’s not,” Malkani said.

Charging different prices for the same product doesn’t help consumer confidence in a regulated system or do much to deter illicit sales, said Daniel Bear, a drug policy expert at Ontario’s Humber College.

“One of the primary reasons the government cited when legalizing cannabis was to reduce the black market,” Bear said. “When the prices are now wildly out of line with one another, that probably impacts trust quite a bit,” he said.

“The whole basis of this system needs to be built on the idea that you can trust that a legalized product is fair, it’s coming from good sources and you’re not being price-gouged just to fill the coffers,” Bear added.

FILE: David Lobo, Ontario Cannabis Store (OCS) VP Corporate Affairs and Stakeholdes Engagement and Chief of Staff during a briefing their office in Toronto, Ont. on Friday Jan. 3, 2020. / Photo: Ernest Doroszuk/Toronto Sun/Postmedia Ernest Doroszuk/Toronto Sun/Postmedia

The OCS has made no secret of its push for profitability after suffering losses of $42 million in its first six months or so of selling marijuana. “Our pricing is set in a manner that helps us cover our costs as an agency,” said David Lobo, vice-president of corporate affairs and social responsibility at the OCS.

“Ontarians expect that cannabis operations will pay for themselves and will not be subsidized by the province,” Lobo said.

The Ontario store, which is now on track to make a profit, has also dropped prices on more than 200 products since opening, many of which are oils, he said.

“As the legal cannabis marketplace continues to grow and stabilize, OCS remains committed to working closely with licensed producers to further bring down prices,” the agency noted in a blog post Wednesday. “Collectively, competitive pricing, quality and access points to strictly regulated cannabis products will further increase capture of the illegal market”

This article was originally published on https://www.thegrowthop.com/cannabis-news/different-prices-on-the-same-cannabis-extracts-doesnt-sit-well-with-customers and https://calgaryherald.com/en/cannabis-news/different-prices-on-the-same-cannabis-extracts-doesnt-sit-well-with-customers/wcm/759536df-0003-4d11-859d-26e428f1904d/


Jessica Nudo

Editor, photographer, storyteller.