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A snapshot of federal licensed cannabis producers, 2018

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Released: 2019-08-22

Cannabis cultivators, processors and sellers, which are federally licensed under the Cannabis Act, employed 2,630 people in fiscal year 2017/2018. In that year, 83 businesses were licensed to produce cannabis. They had 187 709 square metres of active cultivation area and a further 854 265 square metres of inactive cultivation area.

Licensed producers sold 46 metric tonnes of cannabis in 2017/2018 and had 39 metric tonnes of inventory at the end of the year. Their revenues increased 92% in 2017/2018 and a further 52% in 2018/2019. Producers registered losses in all years reported.

Investment spending increased to $233 million in 2017/2018. Total assets had risen to $2.5 billion by the end of 2017/2018 and had increased further to $4.2 billion by the end of 2018/2019.

In 2017/2018, most licensed producers (63%) were located in Ontario. British Columbia had the second highest number of locations (20%), unchanged from 2016/2017. The expansion of the industry can be seen in the number of licensed producers having more than one location. These producers accounted for 20% of the industry in 2017/2018, compared with 12% in the previous period.

Wages, salaries and employee benefits accounted for about 29% of cannabis business expenses, while purchases of raw materials and other inputs represented 26%. Other notable expense categories included marketing fees (8%), energy and water (6%), professional and business fees (5%), and interest (4%).

About 60% of employees in cannabis establishments worked on cultivation, harvesting, processing, manufacturing and administration. Another 20% worked on packaging, marketing, sales and shipping activities. The remainder worked on quality assurance, research and development, security, engineering and general maintenance activities.

Since 2017/2018, the numbers of companies and employees have continued to grow rapidly, reaching 175 companies and approximately 9,200 employees by April 2019.

  Note to readers

Cannabis was made legal for medical purposes in 2001. In 2016/2017, licensed cannabis production capacity grew significantly in anticipation of legislation that would legalize the sale of cannabis products for non-medical use. The market that year was summarized on April 26, 2018, in the Statistics Canada 2016/2017 release "A snapshot of licensed cannabis producers," (Catalogue number13-605-X). The Cannabis Act was tabled in Parliament in April 2017, and, in 2017/2018, the number and production capacity of cannabis growers grew further. Subsequently the Cannabis Act was approved by Parliament on June 20, 2018, and cannabis products became legal for recreational use on October 17, 2018.

Licensed cannabis producers have varying fiscal years and each reports accordingly. The statistics presented here represent aggregations of available fiscal year data.


A document, "A snapshot of licensed cannabis producers," which is part of Latest Developments in the Canadian Economic Accounts (Catalogue number13-605-X), is available.

The product Cannabis Stats Hub (Catalogue number13-610-X) is available.

The User Guide: Canadian System of Macroeconomic Accounts (Catalogue number13-606-G) is available.

The Methodological Guide: Canadian System of Macroeconomic Accounts (Catalogue number13-607-X) is available.

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