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Very few market research firms are as laser-focused as Cann Standard, a pricing analytics firm based in Calgary. What director Brad Martin and his two colleagues accomplish is the detail-oriented work of collating the various prices of dried cannabis, oil and pre-rolled joints to give Canadians a clearer picture of what they should expect to pay in this new post-legalization landscape.

“My passion has always been crawling the market,” says Martin in an interview. “I used to be in real estate marketing and counted the BBQs in a given area to see how many people lived there,” he adds with a laugh.

Now Martin and his team go through the automated and manual process of pinpointing the average price of cannabis in a province or across the country, such as the $10.26 per gram federal average Martin cited during our mid-November call.

They pore through more than 168,000 listings in Canada, which includes licensed producers and available dispensaries. They also look at the U.S., where they comb through 431,000 data points.

Comparing the two countries, Martin notes U.S. prices tend to be slightly higher compared to their neighbour to the north. In the U.S., the average price for an individual gram of dried cannabis was $12.13 USD while in Canada, the average price for an individual gram of dried cannabis was $10.26 CAD.

Cann Standard also seeks to better quantify the production capacity in various provinces. “Our best resource for capacity comes from investor presentations and news releases. Private companies are harder to track,” says Martin. “We use an average ratio of production space to administration and interstitial space to estimate capacity. We track individual varieties with respect to the variety name. Bringing in phenotypic variability adds a higher degree of error. We prefer to track cultivars back to the breeder where the production/timeline stats are available, which is more difficult with proprietary and rebranded genetics where the stats are unknown.”

What Martin also finds challenging is analyzing the listings in an online store like the Ontario Cannabis Store. “The store doesn’t reveal which LP a certain brand comes from, only the name of that cannabis brand,” he says. “But we came up with a macro to help us figure that out.”

While legal edibles aren’t yet available in Canada, Cann Standard has been busy taking stock of the U.S. market. “Edibles are usually the second largest product type, behind concentrates. For example, the U.S. had 97,000 listings for edibles as of Nov 6 2018, more than double the listings for individual grams of dried cannabis (34,920).”

Martin isn’t just the president; he’s also a client. Martin uses cannabis to help treat his insomnia. “I’ve naturally gravitated to cannabidiol-bearing varieties, which I was generally unfamiliar with before the ACMPR,” he adds.

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