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Canadian Cannabis Industry Expected to Exceed $7 Billion in 2019

According to a recent survey, two-thirds of Canadian stoners say they will buy their weed legally once it goes on sale.

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Photo via Cannabis Culture

A new report on Canada's impending legalization of recreational cannabis has found that the country’s residents are eager to smoke more weed than ever, which could push sales over $7 billion next year. Accounting firm Deloitte and polling company Asking Canadians conducted an online survey of 1,500 Canadians from every province between March 6th and 20th of this year. The majority of the respondents said that they planned to purchase and use legal marijuana more frequently, and most are even willing to pay more than current black market prices for their bud.

The report, “A society in transition, an industry ready to bloom,” estimates that Canadians could spend up to $7.17 billion on cannabis in 2019. Legal recreational sales could account for up to $4.34 billion in revenue, and medical marijuana could rake in between $770 million and $1.79 billion. The report suggests that despite full legalization, the country’s black market will also survive, accounting for another $510 million to $1.04 billion in sales.

It also estimates that the country's current cannabis users will begin making 63% of their weed purchases legally, even if the price were to increase. “Legalization alone won’t persuade most current cannabis consumers to completely abandon their existing suppliers,” the report said, according to the Toronto Star. “But our research suggests the right mix of quality, price and safety could just do the trick.”

The current average price of black market weed in Canada is $8.24 per gram, and respondents said they would be willing to pay closer to $9 per gram for legal cannabis. Some current users said they would even be willing to pay up to $14 per gram for legal pot, while others who said they won't buy weed until it becomes legal indicated they could consider paying up to $11 a gram.

"Over time, as retailers develop a better understanding of their customers' needs and behaviours, improve their customer experience and engagement programs, and fine-tune their products' quality and integrity, we could expect to see an increasing share of cannabis sales transition to legal sources," the report said, according to CBC News.

Deloitte suggests that edibles may help increase adoption of legal marijuana in the future. Sixty percent of respondents said they would prefer to use edible forms of the plant, but these products will not be legally available for at least one year after other forms of cannabis become legally available. Fifty-five percent of respondents said that better quality products would convince them to switch to legal retailers, while others said a range of prices, products, or safety assurances would convince them to go legit.

The report also expects that legal weed will create a new type of cannabis consumer, aged between 35 to 54. These new users are likely to be better educated than the traditional Canadian pot user, less likely to take risks, and more likely to consume weed less frequently, perhaps only once per month. In fact, around 41% of all respondents said they would only get high once a month or less under legalization, with just 20% saying they planned to smoke up every day — the same percentage of Canadians who choose to do so currently.