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Canada Marijuana Dispensary Count Tops 1,000 For the First Time

In less than two years after the country legalized recreational cannabis, Canada has reached an important milestone. According to a report in BNN Bloomberg, the country's dispensary count crossed the 1,000 mark as of July 17, landing at 1,010.

Of all the country's provinces and territories, Alberta in the West has the highest number, at 494. No. 2 is the province where some of the highest-quality Canadian cannabis has traditionally come from, British Columbia (211 dispensaries).

Generic marijuana dispensary sign.

Image source: Getty Images.

Due to an ineffective licensing policy in the early days of legalization, the most populous province, Ontario (which also happens to be the home of the capital, Ottawa, and largest city, Toronto) has only 115 marijuana stores. Somewhat incongruously, some of the highest-profile cannabis companies on the stock market are headquartered in the province, including Canopy Growth (NYSE: CGC) and Cronos Group (NASDAQ: CRON).

Ontario's neighbor Quebec is also light on the dispensary count, with only 43 licensed cannabis stores.

The total number of Canadian dispensaries is set to grow sharply, with the proportions changing quite a bit. 496 dispensaries in Ontario have yet to receive their full licenses from the province, while some industry observers believe that the Alberta retail market is currently saturated and due for rationalization. 

Canada legalized recreational marijuana on the federal level in October 2018. One year later, it also sanctioned derivative products, such as cannabis-laced drinks and gummies, for consumption and sale. Both Canopy Growth and Cronos have products available (and in development) in both the traditional and derivative product segments.

On Friday, in contrast to the gains of the top stock market indexes, Canopy Growth and Cronos shares declined. The former fell by 0.9%, and the latter by 2.2%.

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Cannabis legalization is sweeping over North America – 11 states plus Washington, D.C., have all legalized recreational marijuana over the last few years, and full legalization came to Canada in October 2018.

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Eric Volkman has no position in any of the stocks mentioned. The Motley Fool has no position in any of the stocks mentioned. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy.

The views and opinions expressed herein are the views and opinions of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Nasdaq, Inc.

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