Cannabis NB sales totalled nearly $945K within 48 hours of legalization

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Fredericton and Oromocto stores sold the most, figures show

People in Fredericton lined up outside Cannabis NB to buy legal recreational marijuana on Oct. 17, the first day recreational pot was legal. (Photo: Ed Hunter/CBC)
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Cannabis NB sold nearly $945,000 worth of marijuana within the first 48 hours of legalization last week, president and CEO Brian Harriman announced Wednesday.

In-store sales on Oct. 17 and 18 accounted for the bulk of that, at $872,758, compared to online purchases of $71,083, including taxes and delivery fees.

The biggest buyers were in the Fredericton and Oromocto area, where $172,975 worth of various cannabis products were purchased.

Saint John and Rothesay were close behind at $148,197, followed by Moncton and Dieppe at $145,547.

No sales data for the rest of the week has been released.

By comparison, NB Liquor’s average two-day sales of alcohol during that time of year is about $2.5 million.

“Overall, I am very pleased with how things have rolled out as we enter a new legalized channel of retail,” Harriman said in a statement.

He did, however, acknowledge problems with supply shortages that forced the Campbellton outlet to temporarily close the morning of Oct. 20, and complaints about high prices.

Didn’t receive full shipment

“In planning for the launch, Cannabis NB had ordered a full portfolio of products to sufficiently stock its stores.

“Unfortunately, due to last-minute logistical and other issues encountered by the licensed producers, Cannabis NB did not receive its full shipment as ordered,” Harriman said without elaborating on what the issues were or the amounts, types of products or locations involved.

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Cannabis NB president and CEO Brian Harriman said feedback from customers has been ‘very positive as our guides have delivered a positive, educational customer experience.’ (Julia Wright / CBC)

Stores in border communities, such as Campbellton and Sackville, have also experienced higher-than-expected demand because of customers coming from other provinces, he said.

“Based on planned shipments, and dependent on orders arriving in full in the next few days and weeks, store closures in the near term are not anticipated.”

Once the supply “challenge” is addressed and Cannabis NB has its full planned portfolio available, it will have a broader range of products and price points available, said Harriman.

Cannabis NB sales Oct. 17 Oct. 18 Total
Online $51,442 $19,641 $71,083
In-store $520,398 $352,360 $872,758
Fredericton and Oromocto stores $98,729 $74,246 $172,975
Saint John and Rothesay stores $85,279 $62,918 $148,197
Moncton and Dieppe stores $85,883 $59,664 $145,547

Cannabis NB has said its goal is to put illegal pot dealers out of business, but it is currently charging some of the highest prices for product generally, and has some of the most expensive low-end pricing.

Earlier this month, Statistics Canada reported the consensus street price for cannabis among users in Atlantic Canada over the summer hovered around $7.09 per gram.

As legal sales began last week, all Atlantic provinces had at least one product for sale in that price range or below — except New Brunswick.

A whole cannabis flower called Lemon Skunk, for example, was selling for $15.50 for a single gram, including taxes in New Brunswick — the most expensive price listed across Canada.

In Prince Edward Island, the same product was retailing for $14.50. In Newfoundland and Labrador, it was $14, and in Nova Scotia, it was $13.43.

Prices were even lower west of the region: Ontario ($13.25), Manitoba ($12.60) and British Columbia ($11.22).

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