Canada will start measuring the use and production of non-medical cannabis as the country prepares to legalise the drug.
Statistics Canada said Tuesday, according to Bloomberg that it will begin making estimates of current illegal production, sale, and use of marijuana to provide a clearer picture of the “economic and social consequences of the legalization” expected by mid-2018. The agency will begin integrating the data into GDP accounts once the numbers go through their normal revision in November 2019, it said.
“There is strong evidence from health surveys and justice statistics that there is significant illegal production, distribution and consumption occurring in Canada and this has been the case for the last 50 to 60 years at least, but there are few if any related economic data that have been developed over this period,” Statistics Canada said in a report from Ottawa.
Prime Minister Justin Trudeau is pushing ahead with a plan to make marijuana legal through stores or home delivery by next July, saying the move is needed to cut out illicit producers and discourage sales to youth. While officials have said they only have very rough estimates of the size of the market, investors have swelled the market valuation of companies such as Canopy Growth Corp. beyond the billion-dollar mark.
Statistics Canada says it will start with government health surveys to create estimates of consumption and apply those to estimate production and the gross domestic product of non-medical marijuana. Some production of the drug for medical use is already legal in Canada.