PEI

P.E.I.'s marijuana agency reports 1st profit

The P.E.I. Cannabis Management Corporation is reporting a profit of $653,000 in its most recent annual report, for the fiscal year that ended March 31, 2020.

Overall sales dropped during pandemic lockdown, as illicit dealers stepped in to provide pot

Islanders line up on the first day of sales at P.E.I. Cannabis in October 2018. The P.E.I. Cannabis Management Corporation reported its first profit in the 2019-20 fiscal year. (Steve Bruce/CBC)

The Prince Edward Island government made a profit selling marijuana last year, for the first time.

The P.E.I. Cannabis Management Corporation is reporting a profit of $653,000 in its most recent annual report, for the fiscal year that ended March 31, 2020.

The year before, in its first year of operation, the corporation lost more than half a million dollars.

"P.E.I. Cannabis expects to become a major force in the provincial economy over the medium-to-long term, and during its second fiscal year it generated over $16M in total net receipts and captured approximately 40% of the illicit market," says the report's executive summary.

The report also notes that P.E.I. Cannabis launched "a wide range of Phase 2 cannabis products… including edibles, beverages, and various concentrates" this fiscal year.

Most of the profit for the year was realized before the COVID-19 pandemic struck in mid-March of 2020.

While there aren't final figures yet, the corporation is projecting a potential loss for the fiscal year ending in March 2021.

Officials point to the pandemic-related closure of the four P.E.I. Cannabis stores across the Island, saying that helped illicit street dealers win back market share.

As previously reported, online cannabis sales made up only 1.1% of the corporation's total sales in the 2019-20 fiscal year, but began to creep up during the initial COVID-19 lockdown last spring. 

The Charlottetown store accounted for 58.6% of sales revenue in the year described, compared to 22.2% for Summerside, 13.9% for Montague, and 4.2% for O'Leary.

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With files from Kerry Campbell

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