Cannabis was legalized across the Canada on October 17, 2018. Since then, more than 2,000 retail stores have opened for business from coast to coast.
When it comes to Canadian cannabis, which province holds the title of “cannabis capital” really depends on the publication you read and your relationship with legal weed.
Prior to legalization, Vancouver’s booming black market made the West Coast city a cannabis destination for domestic and international travellers alike. The iconic 4/20 protest, which originated in 1995 with a few dozen people, now sees more than 150,000 enthusiasts gather annually at Sunset Beach to buy, share and celebrate cannabis culture.
Rumour has it the smoke over the city on April 20th can be seen from space. … Or maybe we just made that up because we like the way it sounds.
However, in a not entirely surprising development, the domestic data collection following legalization has reported that despite having a heavily saturated cannabis market, B.C. has one of the weakest legal industries in Canada. Or, as a 2020 article by Snejana Vorona so elegantly puts it, “[The] findings, as laid out below, point to a province that has disproportionately refused to find above-board weed dealers.”
Whether or not you believe in the West Coast Best Coasts philosophy, B.C. bud has and always will hold a special place in our hearts.
Across the country, the metropolitan city of Toronto has always been a frontrunner in the Canadian cannabis capital race, both before and after legalization. When it comes to the licensed producers we all know and love, many of them call eastern Canada home – including Tweed, RedeCan and Weed Me.
In 2020, Toronto totaled CAD $334 million in cannabis sales, 12.7% of all regulated recreational cannabis revenue in the country. Ontario is home to 556 cannabis stores as of June 2021 according to a Statista report, second only to one other province.
And that province would be Alberta! According to the same report, Alberta is home to 578 cannabis stores as of June 2021. The entire province hit the ground running in October of 2018 and has been successfully leading the regulated cannabis industry in Canada since.
In 2019, it became clear that Alberta had “emerged as the exception to the national trend of a struggling legal cannabis market,” writes Matt Zablowski, “It [had] almost as many retail stores licensed as all other provinces combined, with sales that rival those of Ontario or Quebec despite having a fraction of their population.”
As the provincial cannabis market continues to grow, Alberta is lucky to be home to some exceptional licensed producers including favourites such as Joi Botanicals and Boaz.
So when it comes down to choosing the Canadian cannabis capital, it’s a bit of a subjective debate. Vancouver still dominates in terms of celebrations and less-than-legal exchanges, while Alberta has the most numbers on the board.
Whether you’re partial to the coast or have love for the prairies, we’re just here to celebrate the range and availability we have when it comes to Canadian bud!