Does Canada’s shrinking medical cannabis market offer lessons for other nations?

By Solomon Israel – Nov28, 2022 – MH Biz Daily

Canada’s regulated medical cannabis market has dwindled significantly from its peak, declining well before recreational marijuana legalization in October 2018 and continuing that downward trend as adult-use sales displaced purchases through regulated medical channels.

Experts say factors behind the medical market’s decline include:

  • The convenience of shopping at adult-use stores.
  • Challenges for doctors in authorizing medical cannabis.
  • A lack of tax advantages for medical cannabis clients and producers.

THC potency limits that apply to both recreational and medical cannabis products.

Those issues might offer lessons for other nations and jurisdictions that legalize medical marijuana first, followed by adult-use legalization.

In Canada, spending on medical cannabis products peaked about a year before recreational cannabis sales began, reaching 161 million Canadian dollars ($120 million) in the fourth quarter of 2017, according to Statistics Canada data.

The most recent data shows medical marijuana sales totaled CA$109 million in the second quarter of 2022, after hitting a low of CA$104 million in the first quarter.

“Right now, what’s happening is the patients, they just give up and they just go buy something” from an adult-use store, said Brett Zettl president and CEO of Saskatoon, Saskatchewan-based medical cannabis company Zyus Life Sciences, which is preparing to go public via a reverse takeover.

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