After three years of growth, sales stagnated at the Société québécoise du cannabis (SQDC) during the 2022-2023 financial year, which ended on March 25. This is what the most recent annual report published by the Crown corporation tells us on Monday.
This is the equivalent of 106.5 tons of marijuana that was acquired by customers during the last year, the same volume as for the previous year. Similarly, the SQDC estimates that it captured 56.10% of sales, the rest being made illegally. This is a slight decrease in this proportion compared to last year.
President and CEO Jacques Farcy partly blames the strikes that have affected 24 of the 98 branches for more than a year, reducing their opening hours. He says he is always listening at the negotiating table.
“The main dispute between the parties is the salary of the employees. We are summoned next week by the conciliator, ”said Mr. Farcy.
He also believes that the SQDC must better promote its offer to its consumers and improve its customer service.
“It’s to review our in-branch display. It is also to see how we can give a little more leeway to our advisers so that, in their support, they can talk a little about something other than the THC level and the price”, specified the CEO
Mr. Farcy is aware that some customers would like to buy products that are not permitted by law in Quebec stores, such as candies, creams or vaping products. He recalls, however, that the debate on this subject does not belong to the SQDC, but to the elected officials. He also points out that several other provinces allow the marketing of these products, but display black market capture rates similar to that of Quebec. So it wouldn’t be a miracle solution.
Mr. Farcy is hopeful of surpassing this plateau in sales, but foresees more moderate growth in the coming years. The objective is to sell the equivalent of 124 million tonnes of cannabis in 2023-2024 and to reach 130 million tonnes in 2025-2026.
Profits for their part increased even if the incomes remained immobile. SQDC’s margins have improved, in part due to lower product costs. The drop in payroll caused by the strikes also lowered expenses, with some branches being temporarily operated only by managers. Thus, 232.7 million dollars were routed into the coffers of the State, if we count the taxes imposed on these products. The majority of the prize pool is deposited into the Addictions Fund.