MONTREAL -- Two years after opening its first stores, the Societe quebecoise du cannabis (SQDC) estimates that it has snatched up nearly half of the illicit market and plans to reach the goal of paying a $50 million dividend into the state coffers at the end of its fiscal year.

Start-up problems - marked by empty shelves across its 12 outlets at the time and many out-of-stock products - are a thing of the past, according to CEO of the state-owned company Jean -Francois Bergeron,

He now wishes to put forward a series of initiatives intended to better support consumers and reduce physical contact during the COVID-19 health crisis.

The SQDC estimates its market share by estimating that approximately 150 million grams of marijuana are consumed in one year in Quebec.

-- this report by The Canadian Press was first published Oct. 15, 2020.