Article by Jen Skerritt, Bloomberg
Terry Booth didn’t expect his life would come full circle, thanks to marijuana.
He sold pot in high school, peddling quarter ounces for C$25 ($19) to help out his dad. He spent the next two decades working as an electrician and entrepreneur, and planned to semi-retire to the golf course after taking a step back from his construction permit firm. That idea went to pot, literally, when his business partner Steve Dobler said his brother-in-law was looking for investors on a marijuana play.
“Steve’s a pretty conservative guy; I thought he was kidding,” said Booth, 53, sitting in a hotel conference room in Edmonton, Alberta, not far from where Aurora Cannabis Inc. is building a greenhouse the size of almost 14 football fields. “But he wasn’t.”
Booth and Dobler are the largest individual holders of Aurora, Canada’s second-largest marijuana firm. Their combined stakes are now approaching C$200 million, making them among the wealthiest shareholders in Canada’s growing crop of newly-minted marijuana millionaires.
As Canada moves to legalize recreational pot, the value of the nascent market has ballooned to more than C$25 billion, swelling the ranks of affluent pot investors who have significant holdings in companies such as Canopy Growth Corp. and Aphria Inc. The U.S. legal market is expected to reach $75 billion in sales by 2030, almost as large as North America’s soft drink market, according to research firm Cowen & Co. Canadian sales could soon be worth between C$7 billion and C$12 billion a year, Beacon Securities estimates.