In spite of the many challenges and bureaucratic roadblocks faced by the legal marijuana industry in Canada, it continues to thrive.
According to data published Friday by the country's official statistics agency, licensed dispensaries sold just over 146 million Canadian dollars ($110 million) worth of product in December.
That represented an 8% rise over the previous month, and a 155% year-over-year improvement. It also set a new monthly record.
At least some of this has to do with better access. Although marijuana companies in the retail segment of the market have had difficulty opening dispensaries in certain provinces like Ontario, Statistics Canada said that "[m]ore cannabis stores were opened in 2019, increasing the average Canadian's proximity to brick and mortar cannabis stores."
In terms of geography, nearly all of the country's provinces, save for British Columbia, reported month-over-month gains in cannabis retail sales. The highest was recorded by Manitoba, which saw a very robust rise of nearly 54%
The increase in marijuana sales were well above the growth of the broader retail economy, which was up only marginally on a month-over-month basis, and rose at an annual rate of 2.4%.
The better performing Canadian cannabis companies have lately reported sales that mirror this encouraging industry dynamic.
Canopy Growth's (NASDAQ:CGC) third quarter fiscal 2020 results, for example, showed that the company grew its total net revenue by 62% over the previous quarter, and 49% compared to the same period the previous year. Much of this was due to a boom in net sales of Canopy Growth's recreational marijuana offerings, which increased by more than 130% over the second quarter.
On Friday, Canopy Growth closed down by almost 2%.