It's pretty incredible what a difference a year can make.
At this time last year, cannabis stocks were flying high, and the expectation had been that most brand-name companies would push toward recurring profitability by the end of the year. Of course, hindsight being what it is, we know this didn't happen. High tax rates in select U.S. states, persistent supply issues in Canada, and a resilient black market weighed heavily on the cannabis industry in 2019 and pushed a number of popular pot stocks to two-year lows.
However, there may be light at the end of the tunnel.
Late last week, Statistics Canada released its monthly retail trade sales data for November. Since the marijuana industry is tightly regulated, but nonetheless legal, licensed cannabis store data is included in this monthly report. Aside from the fact that cannabis sales hit a new all-time high in November -- something not unexpected given that the Canadian pot industry is still ramping up -- what really stood out is that monthly sales finally eclipsed $100 million (that's U.S. dollars).
Here's a snapshot of how licensed cannabis store sales have progressed since adult-use weed hit dispensary shelves on Oct. 17, 2018 (data is reported in Canadian dollars (CA$), with parenthesis featuring U.S. dollar equivalency).
- October (2018): CA$53.68 million ($40.83 million)
- November (2018): CA$53.73 million ($40.87 million)
- December (2018): CA$57.34 million ($43.61 million)
- January: CA$54.88 million ($41.74 million)
- February: CA$51.66 million ($39.29 million)
- March: CA$60.94 million ($46.35 million)
- April: CA$74.58 million ($56.73 million)
- May: CA$85.81 million ($65.27 million)
- June: CA$91.46 million ($69.56 million)
- July: CA$107.36 million ($81.66 million)
- August: CA$125.95 million ($95.8 million)
- September: CA$122.93 million ($93.5 million)
- October: CA$128.98 million ($98.1 million)
- November: CA$135.75 million ($103.25 million)
It took more than a year, but November featured more than $103 million in sales for Canada, a market that Wall Street foresees generating $5 billion in annual sales by 2024. As a whole, the Canadian marijuana market has generated $916.6 million in revenue since sales commenced on Oct. 17, 2018. This makes it very likely that Canada surpassed $1 billion in aggregate pot sales since launch in December, but we'll have to wait a month to confirm.