The legal cannabis industry continued to make inroads against its illicit counterparts, as one-quarter of all sales took place among regulated players in the first quarter of the year, according to new data from the Ontario Cannabis Store.

The provincial pot distributor's quarterly review showed that the province controlled a 25.1-per-cent share of the cannabis market in the fiscal first quarter of 2020, a slight uptick from the 24.7 per cent share observed in the previous quarter. The number lagged behind the national share for the legal market, according to OCS and Statistics Canada calculations.  

The market share gains indicate that Canada's approach to legalizing pot for recreational use is gaining traction amongst consumers. Additional data showed household spending on legal cannabis in the second quarter of 2020 outpaced the illicit market for the first time 

"The growth of the market in terms of the volume of product sold and percentage of the illegal market captured are both inching upwards as a direct result of the collaboration between the OCS and its commercial partners – licensed producers and authorized cannabis retail stores," Cheri Mara, chief commercial officer of the OCS, said in a letter published with the agency's quarterly review. 

The OCS also said in its quarterly review that its $7.05-per-gram sale price for dried flower is now cheaper than the average price offered by illegal mail-order marijuana sites ($7.98). The discount comes as large-format 28-gram value offerings become increasingly popular in the legal retail market. Those products accounted for 3.9 per cent of all dried flower sales last quarter, nearly four times the total observed by the end of last year, the OCS said. 

The province's cannabis operator also highlighted which companies led certain product categories in the second quarter of 2020. Canopy Growth Corp. owns three of the top five most popular beverage brands in Ontario, while Bhang Corp.'s chocolates have a 30-per-cent share of the edibles category. Redecan leads in dried flower and vapes with 13-per-cent and 22-per-cent shares, respectively. 

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