Report: Canada rec cannabis industry could top $22 billion

Canada’s widely anticipated recreational marijuana market could become a more than $22.6 billion industry once it’s legalized, according to a new report by Deloitte.

The accounting and consulting firm’s report, scheduled for release soon, concludes that adult-use marijuana will be a huge jump-start for the Canadian economy, the Toronto Star reported. Prime Minister Justin Trudeau is expected to introduce legislation to legalize rec marijuana next spring.

The report estimates the base retail market could be worth $4.9 billion-$8.7 billion annually based on a survey this summer of 5,000 Canadians, including 1,000 identified as recreational marijuana users, the newspaper reported.

The market could balloon to $12.7 billion-$22.6 billion with the inclusion of ancillary businesses such as infused product makers, testing labs, security and growers.

To meet the demands of recreational consumers, Canadian growers will have to produce about 600,000 kilograms of cannabis annually, a substantially larger amount than what is being currently churned out by the country’s 36 federally licensed medical producers, the report says.

Factor in tourism revenue, business taxes, license fees and paraphernalia, and Canada’s recreational market could exceed $22.6 billion, according to the report, “Recreational Marijuana: Insights and Opportunities.”

The survey also found that 40% of Canadians support rec legalization, while 36% oppose it and 24% are undecided, the Toronto Star reported.

Canadians are also at odds about where cannabis should be sold: 24.7% said it should be sold in pharmacies; 17.9%, privately-owned marijuana retailers; 17.6%; new government-owned marijuana shops; 16.3%, existing government liquor outlets; 11.9%, existing private liquor retailers; and 11.7%, supermarkets.

In advance of the expected rec legalization, a committee drafting the language for the legislation is expected to finalize a draft Nov. 30.