Legal cannabis contributes CA$2.3 billion to crop receipts in Canada

A growing cannabis industry helped push positive growth in Canada’s realized net farm income in 2019, according to new data from Statistics Canada.

Canada’s national data bureau defines realized net farm income as “the difference between a farmer’s cash receipts and operating expenses, minus depreciation, plus income in kind.”

Total farm cash receipts, which measure revenues including crop and livestock sales and government subsidy programs for certain agricultural sectors, increased by 5.7% in 2019 to 66.1 billion Canadian dollars ($48 billion).

Excluding cannabis, the increase would have been 2.9%, similar to the average annual increase in recent years.

Canada’s total crop receipts in 2019 reached CA$36.6 billion, a 3.9% increase over 2018.

“The gain was attributable to a $1.7 billion increase in licensed cannabis producer receipts during the first full year of legalized recreational use,” reported Statistics Canada.

Cannabis crop receipts reached CA$2.3 billion in 2019, an increase of more than 300% over 2018, when recreational cannabis was legalized late in the year.

Those receipts include cannabis seeds, plants and flowers, including leaves, for both medical and recreational cannabis, as well as sales to federally licensed processors.

More than half the national increase in cannabis crop receipts – 56.5% – came from the provinces of Ontario and Alberta.

Canada’s total farm operating expenses were also pushed higher by cannabis production in 2019.

“Indoor growing area of licensed producers almost tripled in the year following the legalization of recreational cannabis use in October 2018,” Statistics Canada explained. “Licensed outdoor production also began in 2019.”

Cannabis production also helped drive increases in cash wages and fertilizer expenses last year.