O Cannada: Legal Weed’s Effect on the Canadian Economy and Culture

Under Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s Liberal Party leadership, Canada recently legalized cannabis nationwide, making it the largest country in the world to have a federally sanctioned marijuana marketplace. The Great White North, strong and free? That remains to be seen, say industry experts and activists across the nation.

According to a Statistics Canada report, Canadians spend almost as much on the green as they do on the grape, consuming C$6.2 billion worth of marijuana in 2015—a relatively conservative estimate, the agency admitted, stating that actual consumption could “reasonably” be as low as half that amount, or as much as double. By comparison, Canadians spent C$7 billion on wine in 2015.

The emerging Canadian cannabis industry has seen dizzying growth in the past year. Shares in Canopy Growth Corp. (formerly Tweed Marijuana Inc.), trading on the Toronto Stock Exchange as WEED, have more than tripled. Bloomberg.com reported that the company’s market value of C$7.2 billion now exceeds that of Bombardier Inc.—the world’s leading manufacturer of both planes and trains.

No matter how you slice it, the legal weed industry is guaranteed to be a huge payday for the Canadian government, with an estimated $400 million generated annually in taxes from retail

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