PEI

Why P.E.I. is proud of how much cannabis it's selling

Thursday marks the first anniversary of legal cannabis sales in Canada, and the director of cannabis operations for P.E.I. is pretty pleased with how it's been going.

P.E.I. Cannabis expected to turn profit in 1st year

P.E.I. has led the country in legal cannabis sales per capita. (Steve Bruce/CBC)

Thursday marks the first anniversary of legal cannabis sales in Canada, and the director of cannabis operations for P.E.I. is pretty pleased with how it's been going.

"A lot of different folks from a lot of different areas in government came together to make this happen," said Zach Currie.

"It was a federal decision to move forward with this and under considerable time constraints."

P.E.I. started with three stores last October — in Charlottetown, Summerside and Montague — and opened a fourth in O'Leary in January.

The province has been a reported leader in cannabis sales.

Economic benefits of legal cannabis sales include taxes, says Zach Currie. (Steve Bruce/CBC)

"It's something to be proud of because we look at it through the lens of illicit market displacement," said Currie.

"These aren't per capita total consumption; it's per capita legal consumption."

One of the primary goals of P.E.I. Cannabis is to displace the illegal market, said Currie. How successful they have been is difficult to estimate, he said, because there are no clear numbers on just how big that market is.

But Currie said the best estimates are that legal cannabis makes up 35 to 40 per cent of the total market.

Into the black

The province lost almost $500,000 in the first six months of operation for P.E.I. Cannabis, but Currie said the agency turned the corner in the last six months.

He said he is expecting a $300,000 surplus for the year.

Currie said cannabis stores did good business during the tourism season, with curious visitors checking out what Island cannabis stores had to offer.

Currie noted the profit at P.E.I. Cannabis does not represent the full economic benefit for governments, which also collect excise taxes and HST.

More P.E.I. news

With files from Island Morning

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