If Ontario sold pot like Alberta, here's how much it would have made

Close-up of young woman in sunglasses smoking a marijuana joint. (Getty Images)

Sluggish cannabis retail in Canada’s largest province has been a sore point for everyday pot consumers and billion-dollar licenced producers alike since recreational legalization over a year ago. 

Provinces charted their own course in establishing legal alternatives to the black market, resulting in a patchwork of public and private channels for online and brick-and-mortar sales. No two markets are as often compared as Ontario and Alberta. 

One key difference is the fact that Ontario has opened just 24 physical cannabis stores versus about 300 in Alberta, a province with roughly 10 million fewer residents.

Craig Wiggins, managing director of industry research team TheCannalysts, crunched the numbers to determine what Ontario would have gained had the province followed Alberta’s lead. He scaled up Alberta’s cannabis revenue to equate to Ontario’s population, and then subtracted Ontario’s current sales. 

“That delta is the missed opportunity,” Wiggins told Yahoo Finance Canada

He calculated that Ontario has missed out on $325 million in economic activity, $26 million in provincial sales tax, and $25 million in excise tax. 

Here’s a chart illustrating Wiggins’ findings:

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