That’s one of the main takeaways of a Statistics Canada report released Thursday that attempts to quantify the size of the market leading up to legalization this summer.
The data agency warns that because so much of the current market operates outside the lines of legality, some of the findings in the report are based on “a number of assumptions, models and sparse data sources related to the production of the mostly illegal cannabis industry,” Statistics Canada says.
The data agency estimates Canadian adults spent $5.7 billion on marijuana last year — 90 per cent of it for illegal, non-medical purposes.
The almost $6-billion figure compares with the just over $22 billion that Canadians spent on alcohol last year, and the $16 billion they spent on tobacco products.
In terms of production, however, the marijuana industry is now bigger than Canada’s beer or tobacco industries.