When marijuana prohibition finally comes to a screeching halt in Canada at some point next year, the legal cannabis market stands to grow into a beastly $22.6 billion industry, which could put a bit of a stranglehold on the nation’s alcohol sales, according a new study.
A report from the Toronto Star indicates that new data from the consulting firm Deloitte, which is expected to be published soon, will show Canada’s base recreational marijuana market could be worth in upwards of nearly $9 billion per year—surpassing the combined sales of beer, wine and hard liquor.
This means legal weed could be exactly what Canada needs to shock the national economy back to life.
“There hasn’t been anything like this—and granted it wasn’t legislated—but you think of the dot-com… flurry,” Mark Whitmore, vice-chair of Deloitte, told the Star.
The Deloitte survey, which is entitled “Recreational Marijuana: Insights and Opportunities,” shows the ancillary market could then rake in an estimated $13 billion to $23 billion, while the combination of tourism, licensing fees and other revenue is expected to explode the national cannabis trade to nearly $23 billion—maybe even more.
It was revealed earlier this year that the Canadian government was working to introduce legislation in 2017 aimed at legalizing marijuana. As it stands, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau has established a task force charged with figuring out how to implement this concept. The panel is expected to deliver its recommendations for federal legalization sometime before the end of November.
Regardless of how the law is drafted, the legalization of marijuana “presents a bold new landscape for Canadian businesses and government alike,” according to the study.
In the United States, where marijuana is not on any mind-blowing course to be made legal at the national level, economists have suggested that bringing down federal prohibition and allowing marijuana to be taxed and regulated in a manner similar to alcohol could bring about a $45 billion industry.
While it could take awhile for marijuana to compete with the alcohol industry’s $400 billion contribution to the U.S. economy, the addition of a national cannabis industry would create hundreds of thousands of new jobs and assist in reestablishing the middle class—the backbone of the country’s economic stability.
A recent report from the Marijuana Policy Group found that Colorado’s cannabis industry alone has already created more than 18,000 new full-time jobs and provided an overall economic boost to the tune of $2.4 billion.