Article by Lift
In order to supply expected demand for marijuana, the government will have to increase existing legal production space significantly
As Canada moves towards establishing a system to regulate marijuana for recreational use, supplying the demand for such a product will be a significant task. While the government can certainly lean on existing licensed producers under the Marijuana for Medical Purposes Regulations (MMPR), the current approved space of over 1 million sq ft would still only represent a portion of the expected future non-medical/recreational demand.
A Forum Research poll from 2015 showed that about 30% of Canadians would likely try cannabis once legal. This represents about 10 million people trying or using cannabis in some form once they are legally able to do so. Currently, licensed producers supply over 50,000 approved medical cannabis patients, utilizing approximately 100,000 square metres of production space, with an average consumption of about 1 gram per day. While productivity of individual strains and production facilities can be different, Licensed Producers are currently growing almost 500 grams per sq metre of floor space per grow cycle (3-4 months).
We can use these variables along with expected market size to predict that nearly 2 million square metres will be required to satisfy future recreational demand. This is, of course, a very rough estimate. Not all recreational consumers will necessarily consume as much cannabis as the average medical user. In addition, estimates of future demand are based on poll results that offer only a broad overview of the market. Actual demand could be significantly higher or lower, but this provides a good look at the need for the government to continue to approve new production space to supply the future legal recreational market.