Estimating cannabis use and expenditures is rather tricky, especially during prohibition. Most people, even with the promise of anonymity, are probably unlikely to be completely honest about their illegal marijuana usage. Statistics Canada tries to make adjustments in their methodology, coming to the estimate that Canadians spent about $5.6 billion on cannabis in 2017, right on line with their $5.7 billion estimate for 2016.

“Statistics Canada has had to make assumptions about the frequency with which Canadians consume cannabis; the volume consumed per day; and the price paid to purchase cannabis. For example, Statistics Canada assumes that when someone reports consuming cannabis at least once a week, they actually consume cannabis 208 times per year, although this could range from 52 to 365 times,” Statistics Canada notes on their website.

Using admittedly imperfect surveys Statistics Canada’s estimation includes both legal medical sales, along with unregulated recreational purchases. In addition to the nearly $6 billion spent by Canadians, the government agency reported that $1 billion worth of cannabis was sold abroad, with British Columbia cultivating 59% of the international market. That billion dollar estimate is unlikely to capture all of the illicit cannabis sold across international lines.

According to the government survey, Nova Scotians use the most cannabis per capita, with its residents consuming 27.06 grams in 2017, nearly an ounce per person. British Columbia came in second at 24.6 grams, with Alberta right behind at 24.08. The national average across the Great White North was 21.1.

As far as production goes, British Columbia, known internationally as a cannabis-friendly hotspot, led the way, accounting for 36.6% of all of the cannabis produced in Canada. Quebec came in second with 31% and Ontario with 22.7% produced the third most among the provinces.

The Canadian cannabis market has been projected to hit $9 billion by 2025, and Statistics Canada’s numbers certainly back up that claim. I wouldn’t be surprised to see Canada exceed that $9 billion projection due to tourism, increased international sales, and more legal establishments for adults that will start opening up in the coming months. The only internal factor that can hold the Canadian market back is overregulation that can push the price of cannabis too high. The external factor of legalization in other countries is not in the control of Canadian officials, but they should certainly resist the urge to impose too burdensome regulations that will prevent the Canadian cannabis market from flourishing like it should.

While the complete future of the Canadian cannabis market is unknown, we do know that there will be opportunities abound in the multi-billion dollar industry. Join us at the International Cannabis Business Conference in Vancouver on June 24-25 to learn the latest and network with the most prominent activists, entrepreneurs, and investors in Canada and around the world. Be sure to purchase your tickets by June 3rd to save $200!