The government set a goal to wipe out the illegal market, but due to an inconsistency of pricing in cannabis extracts, that objective is now at risk. A CBC News report uncovered that pricing for the same product could vary greatly from store to store, costing up to three and a half times more in one place over another.

The Analysis conducted, took into consideration 61 cannabis products in Ontario’s provincially run online store and compared them to the same merchandise in retailers located in British Columbia, Alberta, Quebec, Nova Scotia, New Brunswick, Prince Edward Island and Newfoundland and Labrador. After the research was complete, the analysis identified that 31 of the products held inconsistency in pricing, with some varying more than 50%.

Jessica Nudo, a cannabis consumer located in Toronto, expressed her suspicion on the price variations and has even been forced to ration her use due to it. Nudo claims to notice pricing in Ontario being on “the higher end of the spectrum” compared to pricing in Alberta and B.C.

According to Rishi Malkani, of financial consulting firm Deloitte, who has worked directly with provinces like B.C., Alberta, and Ontario, these price variations are normal and to be expected.

“Each of the provincial wholesalers negotiates separate agreements with the producers, so depending on what [the provincial government] thought in terms of how much they should buy, how much their demand is going to be, they’re going to be able to negotiate different kinds of discounts,” Malkani said.

However, Drug policy expert at Humber College in Ontario, Daniel Bear, makes it clear that irregular pricing is detrimental to the government’s goal of eliminating the illegal market.

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


Jessica Nudo

Editor, photographer, storyteller.