Canadian Official Says Low-Quality Cannabis Is Driving Illegal Sales

Ontario’s auditor general said the unregulated cannabis market is still thriving because the legally available products are of lower quality.

Full story after the jump.

Unregulated transactions comprise about 80 percent of cannabis sales in Ontario, Canada, according to a report from the province’s auditor general outlined by CTV. The majority of consumers who still purchase outside of the legal market say unregulated products are of better quality.

“In our discussions with cannabis store managers and AGCO staff, we heard that some people prefer illegal cannabis because it is more potent and the product is fresh.” – Auditor General Bonnie Lysyk, in the report via CTV

Customers have described Ontario Cannabis Store flower as “subpar” and “too dry.”

Lysyk also warned that licensed shops could be tempted to start offering illegally-acquired products due to the quality chasm and lack of industry oversight.

“As more stores open and competition increases among retailers, they will have an incentive to generate greater profit margins by selling illegal products that compromise consumer health,” the report said.

In a press release, the auditor general’s office said the agency “is not properly monitoring the movement of recreational cannabis in retail stores,” pointing out that from September 2019 to July 2020 cannabis shops reported having “84,228 fewer units on hand than recorded in their inventory systems” while reportedly destroying 5,477 units of cannabis products.

Additionally, Lysyk’s office said that the AGCO has followed up on “only two-thirds of complaints about cannabis stores in the past two years.”

The agency notes that it “closely monitors” websites selling cannabis illegally to compare processes and products.

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