Health Canada, which oversees Canada’s medical marijuana program, released quarterly data on 10/21 for the quarter ending 6/30. The timing was quite odd, coming just a day after the national elections that led to a change in control of the Parliament. Last quarter, the government agency released data about 50 days after the end of the quarter rather than 113. In any event, this long-awaited data is finally here!
The program began on 4/1/14, so this is the 5th quarter and the first year-over-year comparison. As the chart above suggests, production outstripped demand during the quarter, with 1.371mm grams sold and 2.212mm produced. Consequently, inventory rose to 5.58mm grams from 4.481mm. Production has exceeded sales in all 5 quarters of the program’s history. There are a couple of possible explanations for this trend, including the presence of a few LPs that aren’t yet licensed to sell and, more of a factor, the desire of some LPs to have more inventory so that patients can be assured of available supply.
The report has some new data, including the prescription size as well as the shipment size. After averaging 1.0 grams per day in the first year, the amount increased to 1.1 grams per day in the June quarter. The amount authorized per patient on a gram per day basis fell from 4.0 to 3.3.
The big news is the patient count, which, at 23,930, grew 29.3% from the prior quarter and 202.4% from a year ago. The quarterly growth of 29.3% represented a sharp acceleration from the 19.1% quarterly growth in the March quarter. To put things in perspective, if the patient count continues to grow at the pace of the June quarter, it would end 2015 at 40K patients
The bottom-line: The Canadian medical cannabis program is picking up steam, with increased growth in patients and higher demand from patients on a per capita basis.