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HIGHLIGHTS
  1. Recreational dried cannabis sales reach 4,368 kg Oct. 17-31.
  2. Adult-use pot spending surpasses medical in October – AltaCorp.
  3. Federal licensees held bulk of oil inventories by Oct. 31 – gov’t.

Recreational cannabis flower sales in the last two weeks of October accounted for 63 per cent of the month’s total sales in Canada, by far surpassing that of medical marijuana, Health Canada data show, though the national supply crunch and relatively small number of storefronts were expected to hinder near-term growth.

Medical cannabis dominated oil sales, however, accounting for 75 per cent of the volume sold in October, data showed.

Recreational cannabis became legal on Oct. 17, and 4,386 kilograms of dried pot were sold in the last half of the month, whereas 2,539 kg of medical marijuana flower were sold in the entire month of October. For oils, however, 5,295 litres of medical product sold in the full month while just 1,732 litres sold in two weeks on the adult-use market.

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“Using assumptions of a retail price of $10 per gram for dried bud, and $15 per gram equivalent for oil, and an oil conversion ratio, we estimate that total cannabis spending for October 2018 was approximately $85.6-million for the month, comprised of $37.7-million and $47.9-million for medical and recreational channels respectively,” said AltaCorp Research in a note.

This places average recreational cannabis spending at roughly $3.2-million per day for the first 15 days of legalization, with total daily spending reaching an average $4.4-million. This is down sharply from the $11.1-million per day estimated for the fourth quarter of 2018 by Statistics Canada in September, Altacorp said.

“While the measurement period is far too short to … make any meaningful projections from, it does seem evident that initial sales have been dampened by supply shortages and lack of retail storefronts, both of which are not sufficient to keep pace with Canadians' demand for legal cannabis,” Altacorp said.

“Despite the clear strength of demand, until these supply side issues begin to resolve, we expect that legal sales may be lower than some had initially forecast.”

Additionally, Health Canada data show Oct. 31 dried flower inventories held by federal LPs, and provincial distributors and retailers reached 14,658 kg, with 82,443 kg of “unfinished” supplies. For oil, they had a total finished inventory of 29,044 litres, with the bulk still in the hands of federal licence holders, and unfinished volumes at 11,539 litres.

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