Canada is set to legalize recreational marijuana in 2018. But the country already allows medical marijuana, so it's not like cannabis is completely undiscovered. In fact, it turns out Canadians already love weed as much as wine.
A federal statistics agency in Canada disclosed on Monday that Canadians spent $6.2 billion (Canadian dollars) on marijuana in 2015. To put that in comparison, in that same year Canadians spent $7 billion on wine and $9.2 billion on beer. So even without marijuana being legal, Canadians were already spending as much on it as they do on wine. According to the agency, nearly five million Canadians purchased nearly 700 metric tons of marijuana in 2015.
These numbers are incredibly positive for recreational marijuana supporters. The Canadian government estimates it could raise $400 million per year once legalization takes effect. But based on these numbers, that could actually be higher.
So what's the ceiling for the Canadian marijuana industry? It seems very likely it will eclipse the wine market once recreational cannabis becomes legal. But could it jump above even beer?
And what message does this send to Americans? If Canada, a country with a smaller population than the state of California, is spending over $6 billion a year (although that number is $4.8 billion in American dollars) on marijuana, why wouldn't the U.S. government want to legalize it and start bringing in that revenue?