Canada’s Legal Weed Sector Pulls In $15B In Taxes, 1000s Of Jobs, But Still Lacks Diversity, Deloitte Reports

Despite the layoffs, losses and the pandemic, the Canadian cannabis sector held its own, according to a new report released by Deloitte in conjunction with the Ontario Cannabis Store (OCS).

“Deloitte said the cannabis sector has generated more than $15 billion in direct and indirect tax revenue for Canadian and provincial governments, while creating more than 151,000 jobs since Canada legalized recreational use of the drug in Oct. 2018,” said Omar Khan, senior VP of corporate and public affairs at High Tide HITI.

Spoiler Alert… Cannabis Outshines Beer And Wine

The cannabis sector contributed $17 billion to Canada’s gross domestic product (GDP) for the year ending July 2021. Unlike beer ($9.3 billion sales) or wine ($8 billion sales), all adult-use cannabis sold in Canada is produced in Canada, magnifying the impact of cannabis on the country’s GDP.

“When you talk to them and you let them know that the GDP contribution right now is comparable to auto manufacturing, or to life sciences or even to dairy, when you show them those statistics they’re quite taken aback,” Khan told BNN Bloomberg in an interview. 

“I’m hopeful out of this latest round of meetings that we will be able to get some sort of movement, the proof will be in the pudding, but I’m cautiously optimistic at this point.”

Rishi Malkani, a partner at Deloitte who heads the consultancy’s Canadian cannabis practice, added that cannabis has added to the government’s coffers as well as to the construction sector.

“Our hope with this report is that people would realize that the industry’s done a lot more than simply provide [licensed producers] with $4 billion of retail access,” Malkani said.  “It’s loaded government coffers and it’s been a boon to the construction industry.”

Racial Diversity And Environmental Impact – Lower Scores

The report also shed light on the lack of diversity in Canada’s cannabis industry as it re-examined a study by the University of Toronto that found that 72% of executives and directors in the sector identify as Caucasian males, while only 16% identify as racialized individuals.

It also highlighted the environmental impact that the cannabis industry bears, with 5,184 kilograms of carbon emissions being expelled into the atmosphere for every kilogram of dried flower produced. As well, between 5.8 million to 6.4 million kilograms of cannabis packaging were sent to landfills from 2018 to 2019 alone.

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