Cannabis NB is banking on their customer services, not their prices, to draw people away from the illicit market.
One of the primary goals of legalizing recreational cannabis across Canada is to eliminate the black market. And while most retailers agree that a key aspect of achieving that goal is matching current black market prices, Cannabis NB doesn't think so. Of the four Atlantic Provinces, New Brunswick is the only one that doesn't have any pot that is competitive with or less than the average street price of C$7.09 per gram.
In Nova Scotia, the cheapest marijuana a consumer can buy is priced at C$6.33 when bought in a 30 gram lot. Meanwhile, CannabisNL in Newfoundland and Labrador has product priced at C$6.75 for the same quantity. The lowest prices in PEI are marginally higher than the black market average at C$7.27 per gram for 15 grams or more. However, the cheapest cannabis per gram at Cannabis NB is C$8—nearly a full dollar over the average black market price.
Despite the relatively high prices, Cannabis NB President Brian Harriman says he has no plan to "get into a price war with the black market."
There are legitimate reasons to not undercut the illicit market too, explained PEI's director of cannabis operations Zach Currie. The prices need to be low enough to convert the black market to legal means, but not so low to encourage excessive consumption. While PEI has also chosen not to price anything below street value, Currie says he's confident his province is still competitive.
"We feel as though we've maintained that balancing act of staying competitive but not encouraging overconsumption through extremely cheap, cheap prices." Currie told CBC. "Different provinces have different strategies."
Harriman believes it will ultimately be their customer services that wins over cannabis consumers and that's what they're focusing on.
"At the end of the day we're providing a service to the legal age population here in the province who choose to enjoy."