The Canadian cannabis industry contributed $8.26 billion to the nation’s gross domestic product as of July, an increase of $1.24 billion from last October when cannabis was legalized throughout the country, according to Statistics Canada. The agency estimates that illicit cannabis output has fallen 21 percent post-legalization as the legal industry grew 185 percent.
The growth in the sector comes as Canada sees a decline in other, traditional, industries including mining, quarrying, and oil and gas extraction industries (-3 percent), construction (-0.7 percent), and manufacturing (-0.1 percent).
Canada did see a rise in other sectors, including wholesale trade (1.1 percent), real estate (4.2 percent), and retail trade (0.6 percent); but no sector reached the double-digit growth seen in the cannabis industry.
The cannabis industry will likely be able to maintain its growth as the nation plans on legalizing edibles and other “alternative” cannabis products – such as topicals and concentrates. Consulting firm Deloitte estimates that alternative cannabis products could add $2.7 billion a year to the space. Lift & Co. and Ernst and Young anticipate alternative cannabis product sales will grow the industry by about 65 percent.
An August report from Statistics Canada found that the cannabis industry added 6,570 jobs from the same month last year, representing a four-fold increase. Of those jobs, about 60 percent were in cultivation, harvesting, processing, manufacturing, and administration, while 20 percent were in the packaging, marketing, and sales sectors.
The GDP increase does not include the hemp industry, and the Statistics agency suggests that hemp production in the nation will double from 41,200 acres last year to 82,500 this year.
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TG is a journalist by trade and has covered cannabis industry news for Ganjapreneur.com since 2014. He teaches media studies at an upstate New York university and is also the host of the Ganjapreneur Podcast.