Exec advises Canada to increase marijuana production now

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Licensed producers in Canada should ramp up production capacity in the next 12 months in order to meet consumer demand when the country’s recreational marijuana industry is expected to be legalized next summer, according to one cannabis executive.

“We need to expand our capacity right away simply to meet the demands of the rapidly growing medical cannabis system,” Cam Battley, executive vice president of Aurora Cannabis, told the Canadian Press. “When the demand of the adult consumer system is layered on top of that, it’s a rush to build as much capacity as possible.”

Canadian producers – including Canopy Growth, Aphria and Aurora – have raised hundreds of millions of dollars this year to expand production.

“Right now, the existing capacity and what is already envisioned will not be sufficient to meet the needs of the adult consumer market,” Battley said.

In the first year of legalization, cannabis demand in Canada could reach about 400,000 kilograms (881,850 pounds), according to one estimate.

Canada’s licensed producers of medicinal marijuana had 18,140 kilograms of dried marijuana inventoried as of March 31, while 5,674 kilograms were released for sale to 167,754 registered clients in the first quarter.

There are 52 licensed producers in Canada and 428 applications in progress.

Health Canada streamlined the application process for licenses in May to “enable increased production.”