In an effort to usurp the black market’s reign on the weed industry, Ontario is considering slashing their weed prices drastically.
A Shift in Pricing
In order to eradicate illegal sales of cannabis, the government plans on establishing a competitive price for recreational weed, which could be as low as $8 a gram, according to Ontario Finance Minister Charles Sousa after a cabinet meeting Wednesday.
“It’s important for us to establish a price that’s not too high because we want to keep the illicit market under control and we want to eliminate that,” Sousa told reporters at the meeting, per his spokeswoman Jessica Martin. “But at the same time, we don’t want to price it too low that encourages greater use.”
The price range suggested would be between $8-13 per gram, however, Ontario plans on consulting its fellow provinces to settle on a consolidating price.
“We’re trying to work with all of our colleagues across Canada,” Sousa said. “The intent is to have some uniformity with these prices across Canada.”
Ontario has been the first Canadian province to divulge how it will regulate and distribute recreational weed when it becomes legal July 1st of next year. The province plans to run a monopoly of sorts, and open over 150 dispensaries owned and operated by the government.
Sousa believes Ontario can garner over $100 million in tax revenue, citing U.S. states that boast recreational cannabis. Colorado alone garnered over $200 million in recreational sales last year.
“It’s not a ridiculous number to consider because, as you’ve seen in other parts of North America, the numbers have actually been even higher,” Sousa said.
Ontario, Canada Considers Selling Legal Weed For $8 A Gram
Despite government-sanctioned dispensaries and ultra-competitive sales prices, it remains to be seen whether Ontario can squash illicit transactions. Critics have argued an administration monopoly cannot eradicate the long-standing black market.
Although final pricing has yet to be established, Ontario has been increasingly progressive in its efforts to regulate its legal cannabis industry as a whole. Earlier this week, the province established a “zero tolerance policy” towards young drivers under the influence of cannabis.
Motorists under 21 and G1, G2, M1 and M2 drivers will face a three-day suspension and a $250 fine upon their first offense. Second-time lawbreakers will be penalized with a week suspension and a $350 fine. From the third offense on, drivers will receive a month-long ban and could be fined up to $450.
Additionally, commercial truck drivers will face a uniform three-day suspension upon being caught, as well as a $450 fine.
It’s still unclear how these penalties hold up, considering there’s no suitable way to test drivers of being high behind the wheel. However, it remains a step in the right direction for a rapidly expanding industry.
And despite some people’s reservations about the regulation of recreational cannabis, Sousa believes the future of the government-controlled market is bright.
“Demand across Canada is actually pretty high,” Sousa said. “You can see it by the number of shops that already are there illegally.”