Yet it’s Canada that’s led the way as the premier cannabis market. Having already legalized medical marijuana back in 2001, the country appears to be on the verge of green-lighting the sale of recreational pot to adults by this coming summer. Its Senate is slated to vote on the measure on June 7, with passage and the expected signing of the bill paving the way for adult-use sales to commence in August or September. This could, in all likelihood, add $5 billion a year or more in sales to the industry.
Canada could be headed toward a marijuana glut of epic proportions
As you might imagine, Canadian cannabis growers have been angling to get as much of the medicinal cannabis and recreational market as they possibly can, though recreational sales will account for a significantly larger share of total sales. Organic expansion, strategic partnerships, and acquisitions have been occurring at a blistering pace. In fact, four of the five largest marijuana acquisitions of all-time have occurred within a four-month span.
Unfortunately, this rush to grow capacity as quickly as balance sheets will allow could be setting Canada up for an overabundance of cannabis of epic proportions. Even though no one has any real idea how much marijuana Canadians will demand, there’s no shortage of guesstimates.
A recent online report from Grizzle figured countrywide demand at around 800,000 kilograms per year. Meanwhile, uOttawa estimates the annual Canadian consumption at 770,000 kilograms, while a 2017 report from the Office of the Parliamentary Budget Officer projected 655,000 kilograms in purely recreational demand. This was at a time when medical cannabis producers were delivering around 80,000 kilograms a year. Everything is a guess at this point, and most folks probably have their preferred source, but the relative consensus is that 730,000 kilograms to 800,000 kilograms is where the annual demand floor lies.
That’s a lot of cannabis…
How does that stack up against annual production estimates for growers? Let’s take a look.
Canopy Growth Corp. (NASDAQOTH:TWMJF) will likely be the largest producer in Canada. It already has seven facilities operating on 665,000 square feet of growing space, and it’s constructing or developing 3.4 million square feet of growing capacity in British Columbia. Though it hasn’t offered any production estimates, it could conservatively be generating north of 300,000 kilograms per year, if not 350,000 kilograms by 2020.
Aurora Cannabis’ (NASDAQOTH:ACBFF) latest operating results guided toward 240,000 to 270,000 kilograms of annual production. Most will come from Aurora Sky and its Danish Aurora Nordic project, which are expected to yield more than 100,000 kilograms and 120,000 kilograms, respectively. Aurora Cannabis’ acquisition of CanniMed Therapeutics, the costliest pot buyout in history, should also add 19,000 kilograms in annual cannabis capacity.
Not far behind Aurora is Aphria (NASDAQOTH:APHQF), which should yield around 230,000 kilograms of dried cannabis a year. Its four-phase organic project should yield 100,000 kilograms, while a strategic partnership with Double Diamond Farms will add another 120,000 kilograms. Aphria’s acquisition of Broken Coast Cannabis tacks on another 10,500 kilograms a year.
After going public last year, MedReleaf’s (NASDAQOTH:MEDFF) expansion at Bradford, Ontario, plus its existing Markham facility, will combine for 35,000 kilograms a year. More recently, its acquisition of 164 acres of property, 69 of which had an existing facility (the Exeter Facility) that’ll be retrofitted to grow cannabis, should add another 105,000 kilograms. In total, MedReleaf can produce 140,000 kilograms a year.