Despite the cannabis industry's struggles, sales in its most important fully legalized market continue to grow. On Friday, Statistics Canada released its latest set of economic data, revealing that sales of licensed cannabis increased by 4.3% in January on a month-over-month basis.

That growth was in contrast to the broader Canadian retail economy, which rose only marginally over that stretch of time.

Marijuana bud with Canadian flag in the background.

Image source: Getty Images.

The nation's marijuana industry is still in its infancy, and therefore on a growth path despite numerous challenges. Recreational cannabis only became legal in late 2018, followed one year later by "Cannabis 2.0" -- the legalization of derivative products such as candies and other edibles.

Such goods began coming to market at the beginning of this year, and it seems their introduction helped contribute to the sector's overall growth.

That dynamic should continue. One notable example of a busy company in this regard is Canopy Growth (CGC -2.43%), whose Tweed brand very recently launched its first marijuana-spiked beverage. The drink, Tweed Houndstooth & Soda, is a key part of Canopy Growth's strategy to become a player in derivatives.

In the coming months, investors will certainly keep their eyes on the development of licensed cannabis sales in Canada. Marijuana stocks have had a brutal time recently, in many cases being hit harder than stocks in more traditional industries because many see them as more financially fragile.

However, indications are that pot consumers are increasing their purchases in the wake of the SARS-CoV-2 coronavirus pandemic. Encouraging growth amid the pandemic might bring more optimism to the overall marijuana business.

The performance of Canada-based cannabis stocks was mixed in the wake of Statistics Canada's new figures. On Friday, Canopy Growth shares rose 9% against a general stock market slump.