An Ottawa-based organization called Statistics Canada released the figures on Wednesday (Jan. 23). The agency added marijuana to its monthly reports that keep track of Canada’s economic accounts. The C$54 million number is higher than the original estimate of C$43 million, illustrating the potential of the market.
“Retail figures will vary as new stores continue to come online and the marketplace continues to evolve,” the report said.
The industry has been good to the various companies that participate in the market, like Canopy Growth Corp. and Aurora Cannabis Inc. The market has a potential for anywhere between C$5.5 billion and C$10 billion, stated the report.
Canada legalized cannabis after Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said prohibition wasn’t working and provided illicit money to gangs, while allowing for unchecked use by the country’s youth.
The legalization of marijuana in Canada is a big win for the prime minister, who said he would legalize pot use when he was running for office in 2015. The idea is to take profits away from organized criminals and to regulate the production, distribution and consumption that is already available illegally.
“The criminal prohibition that was in effect for a century in this country has failed our kids and our community,” said Bill Blair, minister of border security and organized crime reduction. He said the change will result in “order to every aspect of the production, distribution and consumption of cannabis.”
The final numbers may be different: Statistics Canada’s data might have understated sales for Ontario, which is Canada’s most populated province, because it only included online orders until April, when 25 stores are slated to open. Also, some stores ran out of products, and edibles are not yet allowed to be sold.
“We’re in a supply-constrained environment, so all of this is a little premature because the demand is clearly outstripping supply,’’ said Trevor Fencott, chief executive officer of Fire & Flower Inc.
The company says it has done C$10 million in sales and has expanded to nine different locations in Alberta and Saskatchewan, from the original five it had when the market opened.