The adult-use marijuana market in Canada has generated some $11 billion in retail sales and sustained over 90,000 jobs annually, according to an economic analysis published by the consulting firm Deloitte Canada. Canadian lawmakers legalized the commercial production of cannabis products in June 2018 and retail sales began that October.

The report’s authors estimated the economic contributions of the cannabis sector from 2018 to 2021. Analysts assessed cannabis-related revenues and expenditures associated with cannabis-sector operations and capital investments. They determined: “[T]he Canadian cannabis sector has made a significant economic contribution to both Canada and Ontario in the three short years since legalization. The industry has generated $11 billion in sales nationwide and made $29 billion in capital expenditures. … Overall, the cannabis industry has contributed $43.5 billion to Canada’s GDP – and $13.3 billion to Ontario’s GDP – since legalization. Moreover, the industry has sustained 98,000 jobs across Canada and put $15.1 billion into government coffers.” (Editor’s Note: An earlier version of this reporting cited the figure ‘151,000 jobs.’ This figure was included in the initial version of the Deloitte report, but was later changed by the report’s authors.)

They concluded, “From an economic perspective, it seems clear the cannabis industry has been a great success, with more to come as it continues to grow.”

Authors acknowledged that a lack of diversity exists within Canada’s marijuana industry, noting that few women and people of color hold executive level positions within cannabis companies. They recommended, “Governments and cannabis companies alike must take action to improve diversity, equity, and inclusion across the sector, building on and expanding existing efforts to enable more racialized Canadians and women to participate in the industry’s success.” 

A recently released report by the Minority Cannabis Business Association similarly identifies a lack of diversity within the US cannabis industry, concluding, “[T]he barriers to entry for minority operators have continued to stifle progress to advance social equity efforts.”

Full text of the report, “The Economic and Social Impact of Canada’s Cannabis Sector.” Is available for download. Additional information is available from the NORML fact sheet, ‘Marijuana Regulation: Impact on Health, Safety, Economy.”

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