Illegal cannabis across Canada is pushing down prices for legal recreational cannabis in stores in Yellowknife.

The consumer price index (CPI) for recreational cannabis dropped ten per cent as of August 2020 compared with August 2019, according to the latest consumer price index numbers.

The consumer price index – which measures the change in the price of a product compared to a set average price – also saw slight decreases in a variety of alcohol products in Yellowknife, but none as much as cannabis. 

Nationally, cannabis saw a 9.6 per cent decrease in its CPI. Meanwhile, all other alcoholic and tobacco product products – except for wine bought from liquor stores – saw standard price increases, according to Taylor Mitchell, an analyst with Statistics Canada.

One reason for the disparity could be the continued existence of an illegal cannabis market.

“Prices for recreational cannabis from legal sources are continued to be undercut by lower prices in the illicit market,” said Mitchell. “This competition from the illicit market is contributing to lower prices in the legal market.”

Mitchell added the increased supply and stockpiles that distributors of recreational cannabis that have grown since cannabis was legalized in Canada may have added to a decrease in price.

Mitchell said competing with illegal cannabis and a greater supply is “also having some spill over into the medicinal cannabis market,” where CPI prices are also lower.

Back in July when all prices of cannabis products were lowered by ten per cent at stores across NT, Caroline Wawzonek, Minister of Finance said the GNWT is committed to eliminating the illegal sale of cannabis by providing residents with legal access to safe and secure products.

“We will continue to assess the operations of the Northwest Territories Liquor and Cannabis Commission (NTLCC) to find more ways to curb the illegal sale of cannabis in the Northwest Territories in a socially responsible manner.”

In the NWT, legal cannabis can only be purchased from five NWT liquor stores in Yellowknife, Hay River, Fort Smith, Norman Wells and Fort Simpson and online through the NTLCC.