Nfld. & Labrador

N.L. bought $6M of pot in first 6 weeks of legalization

And only 11 cannabis-related fines have been issued since Oct. 17.

That's almost 700,000 grams, enough for a couple joints for every person in the province

Numbers are in for the first few weeks of legal marijuana. (Robert F. Bukaty/Associated Press)

Newfoundlanders and Labradorians are collectively spending more than one million dollars on cannabis every week, according to sales figures released by Cannabis NL.

The grand total, up to the last week of November, is $6,061,300.44 in retail sales from licensed producers.

That's 698.44 kilograms, enough for every person in the province to roll at least a couple of joints each.

Despite the obvious enthusiasm for pot, data from the Royal Newfoundland Constabulary shows there hasn't been a major spike in unlawful drug-related behaviour.

The RNC has issued 11 tickets so far: seven of them for having cannabis within easy reach in a vehicle or boat and three for consuming cannabis in a vehicle or boat.

One unlucky teen got slapped with a purchasing or possessing fine for those under 19.

Nobody has been caught driving while high.

"We have not laid any charges for drug impaired driving after Oct. 17," said Geoff Higdon, RNC spokesperson. "We have conducted roadside sobriety tests ... but nobody has failed."

Retail bumps

Things are going pretty much according to plan for one retailer.

Thomas H. Clarke, one of the province's few private distributors, says he's sold $300,000 in cannabis products since Oct. — and he could have sold more, if supply had been reliable, he said.

Clarke says he runs out of popular items and has trouble sourcing replacements — some suppliers haven't responded to order requests, he said, leading to gaps in his stock.

"I've been really enjoying the shop, but I wouldn't be true to myself if I didn't bring up some of the things I'm concerned about," Clarke said.

Licensed cannabis retailer Thomas H. Clarke says there are bumps, but overall business is booming. (Peter Cowan/CBC)

Other bugs have yet to be worked out, he said: over-dried product, a lack of CBD oils and too much packaging.

"For 3.5 grams of marijuana, some companies are giving 120 grams of plastic containers," he told On the Go host Ted Blades. 

Clarke doesn't know about any recycling program for those containers, but he collects them from his customers to await a solution, he said. According to Tweed's website, however, that company says it will accept packaging from other licensed cannabis brands for recycling.

For the most part, Clarke said, he's been liking his new job.

"I've been having a great time here at the shop, meeting new people, educating people on cannabis."

With files from CBC Radio's On the Go

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