A study by audit and tax firm Deloitte says legal marijuana in Canada could amount to a $22.6 billion industry.
That figure would surpass combined sales of beer, wine, and spirits in the Great White North.
If Canadians vote in recreational weed across the country in 2017, the firm estimates the cannabis industry will need to produce more than 1.3 million pounds of cannabis each year to satisfy demand. Currently just 36 growers are licensed to serve the countries medical marijuana patients.
Authors of the not-yet-released report analyzed the potential base retail market, estimating $4.9 billion to $8.7 billion annually, and potential ancillary markets such as growers, infused products, security and testing labs. Those side industries could represent between $12.7 billion and $22.6 billion each year.
Add tourism dollars, taxes and licensing, and Canada could be growing a $22 billion industry in their own backyards, Deloitte concluded.
“The challenge will be to set a price point that balances the goal of creating and sustaining a legitimate market (while eliminating ancillary criminal enterprise) with that of not promoting excess consumption,” Mark Whitmore, vice-chair of Deloitte, told the Toronto Star.