“There hasn’t been anything like this — and granted it wasn’t legislated — but you think of the dot-com … flurry,” Mark Whitmore, vice-chair of Deloitte, said in an interview Wednesday.
“It has that kind of feel to it. There’s a lot of froth, a lot of interest in this space and a lot of people think there’s going to be an opportunity,” said Whitmore.
Deloitte estimates that satisfying the recreational weed market will mean producing 600,000 kilograms of marijuana annually — far more than the existing 36 licensed producers (external - login to view) grow for medicinal purposes.
In partnership with RIWI Corp., Deloitte surveyed 5,000 Canadians this past summer — including 1,000 identified as recreational marijuana users — and calculated that the base retail market alone would be worth $4.9 billion to $8.7 billion annually.
The ancillary market — growers, infused product makers, testing labs, and security — would increase that to between $12.7 billion to $22.6 billion.
With tourism revenue, business taxes, licence fees and paraphernalia, Deloitte estimates the market will be even greater than $22.6 billion.
Whitmore said the firm has not calculated federal and provincial taxes or determined precisely how many jobs could be created.
“As we look at this recreational space, it could be a significant opportunity for both Canadian businesses and governments in terms of what they have to do,” he said.