Alberta cannabis market, only for recreational part, could be $1bn per year.

The Canadian government announced new legislation to legalize cannabis for recreational use in April 2017, paving the way for the country to become the first in the G7 to fully legalize the cannabis. The federal government’s goal is to make legalization a reality across the country before July 1, 2018.

A recent study from Deloitte Private found in Canada, the potential economic impact of legalized recreational pot is more than $22 billion, including transportation, licensing fees and security.

Following a public engagement period, which is currently underway, the Alberta government plans to release a draft framework for legalizing pot in the fall. Retail sales are expected across the country as early as July 2018, though some provinces may not be ready.

A recent study from Deloitte Private results suggest that on sales of recreational cannabis alone, the Canadian marketplace could be as much as $4.9bn per year to start – a number on par with the Canadian spirit market (whiskey, vodka, rum, etc.). At the upper threshold, which takes into account the people who are “likely to consume,” cannabis sales alone could be as high as $8.7bn, similar to sales generated by wine.

The country’s spirit sales totaled 18,127,362 (9 l cases) in 2016 and Alberta accounted for 2,950,420 (9 l cases) of that total, according to Statistics Canada, more than 15%. Thus, Alberta cannabis market, only for recreational part, could be $1bn per year.

Cultivation

In March, Acreage Pharma Ltd. became the second licensed pot producer in the province, opening a 630-square-meter facility near the tiny community south of the McLeod River.

The four rooms where crops are propagated and raised, each containing 400 to 500 plants, are off-limits, while the space where dried cannabis will be packaged in five- to 30-gram bags for sale or processed into oil is waiting for the first harvest in July.

At average prices of $5 to $12 a gram, the annual 600 kg output could be worth about $5 million.

But that building is just the start. Company co-founder Trevor Dixon hopes to break ground soon on a larger plant beside it, and is looking at a 23,000-square-meter third phase that would place the overall development among the country’s largest cannabis producers. Phase three is projected to put out 25,000 kg annually.

Alberta’s only other licensed grower is north of Calgary in Cremona. Owner Aurora Cannabis Inc. is constructing a 75,000-square-meter structure beside the Edmonton International Airport that it calls the world’s biggest legal pot producer.

Dispensary

The Green Room, national cannabis dispensary chain, opens first Calgary location. Like the Edmonton location, the Calgary shop will not be selling cannabis products yet. Right now, the shop is opening as an information center.