Alberta pot smokers are expected to spend about $940 million on legal weed by 2024, with the province becoming Canada’s second-largest market for cannabis behind Ontario, according to a new forecast.
U.S.-based research firms BDS Analytics and Arcview Market Research said in a new report Albertans spent about $216 million on medical and retail cannabis last year. They will more than quadruple that spending in the next five years, the forecast predicts.
Alberta currently has the fourth-highest population in Canada, but its spending on cannabis is expected to lead all provinces except Ontario, where retail and medical cannabis sales are expected to top $2 billion by 2024.
Albertans smoke more than national average
The report says Albertans typically smoke more cannabis than the national average, but the growth in sales will largely be driven by the province’s free-market regime of private stores.
“Alberta seems to be taking a fairly liberal approach that will enhance the growth of the market, especially in comparison to the more conservative approach that bigger provinces are taking,” said Tom Adams, managing director of industry intelligence at BDS Analytics.
The forecast is based on data from Health Canada and Statistics Canada, along with the research firm’s own studies of the Canadian market and retail data from legalized U.S. states.
The report forecasts total retail and medical cannabis sales in Canada will soar from about $570 million last year to nearly $5.2 billion by 2024.