10 B.C. cities with the most cannabis shops per capita (and you’ll never guess which is #1)

Four Vancouver Island cities topped the list of cities with high weed retailers per 10,000 people. (Canadian Press Files)

It’s been nearly two years since the Canadian federal government legalized recreational cannabis use across the country, and current provincial trends show that the ‘B.C. Bud’ is as popular as ever amongst B.C. tokers and retailers.

In May 2020 alone, Stats Canada figures show that cannabis retail stores in B.C. made $27.1 million in sales. Compare that to the period between October 2018 and September 2019, when British Columbians bought only $50 million worth of cannabis from retail stores.

As of Aug. 4, B.C.’s Liquor and Cannabis Regulation Branch had issued 262 non-medical cannabis retail store licenses.

The majority of shops — 147 of them — are scattered throughout the interior and northern B.C. The Vancouver Island, Powell River and Gulf Islands region is home to 61 shops, while 48 are located in the Greater Vancouver and Sunshine Coast area. Only six reside in Surrey and the Fraser Valley region.

We crunched some numbers and compiled a list of B.C. cities and towns that have the greatest saturation of legal cannabis stores based on the number of shops in areas where the population is more than 10,000 people and less than 100,000.

Here’s our countdown:

10. Victoria: 1.6 shops

The province’s capital city is home to 14 non-medical cannabis retail stores. In 2016, Stats Canada measured Victoria’s population at 85,792, which means that they have 1.6 cannabis retailers per capita.

9. Salmon Arm: 2.3 shops

Four cannabis shops are currently operating in the southern-interior city of Salmon Arm, meaning that their population of 17,706 has 2.3 non-medical cannabis retailers per capita.

8. Cranbrook: 2.5 shops

The East Kootenay city is home to five non-medical cannabis retail stores. With a population of 20,047, that gives them 2.5 cannabis retailers per capita.

7. Sooke: 3.1 shops

Vancouver Island’s municipality of Sooke has a population of over 13,000. With four non-medical cannabis stores in operation, that gives them 3.1 retailers per capita.

6. Parksville: 3.2 shops

This Vancouver Island city has a population of more than 12,500. There are also four non-medical cannabis stores in the area, which adds up to 3.2 retailers per capita.

5. Dawson Creek: 3.3 shops

There are four non-medical cannabis stores in the north-eastern city of Dawson Creek, which has a population of just over 12,100. This means that the city has 3.3 cannabis retailers per capita.

4. Vernon: 3.5 shops

The Okanagan city of Vernon is home to a whopping number of 14 non-medical cannabis stores. With a population of more than 40,100, the city measures up to 3.5 cannabis retailers per capita.

3. Williams Lake: 3.7 shops

Four non-medical cannabis stores are located in the central-interior city of Williams Lake, which is home to more than 10,700 people. This gives the city 3.7 cannabis retailers per capita.

2. Nelson: 3.8 shops

The Central-Kootenay city of Nelson houses over 10,500 people and four non-medical weed retailers, which means that their cannabis retailers per capita adds up to 3.8.

1. Port Alberni: 4 shops

At the top of the list is yet another Vancouver Island location. The city has seven non-medical cannabis stores to cater to its population of more than 17,600. The city has four cannabis retailers per capita.

With four locations on the list, it looks like Vancouver Island is home to most cities with high cannabis retailers per 10,000 people, followed by interior B.C. with three sites. Two Kootenay cities topped the list, with one northern city.