New Brunswick has been the first Canadian province to announce its recreational cannabis framework, and almost everything that goes along including the three companies which will be supplying the Crown Corporation which will distribute and retail the product.
This comes as no surprise, given that the 2nd smallest province has only around 750,000 residents and fairly little infrastructure to be implemented when compared to the likes of British Columbia and Ontario.
Going through Deloitte’s recreational cannabis market research, I noticed a staggering number — every 5th Canadian smokes weed on some basis.
I did a little calculation on the subject and came to some outrageous numbers.
It is no secret that a huge gap in demand will appear in the months following the opening of the market, meaning that a shortage will be imminent.
It has happened everywhere weed got legalized, Colorado, Washington, Oregon, Nevada, you name it, and the current “state of the union” tells us it’s about to happen in Canada too.
With that being said, let’s get a bit deeper into the facts of New Brunswick’s and Canada’s recreational cannabis regulation plans.
New Brunswick cannabis plan — short summary
What we know with relatively fair accuracy is that New Brunswick has around 750,000 residents, give or take a few hundred, which makes it the 2nd smallest province by population.
The government of New Brunswick has announced they will be retailing cannabis through a Crown corporation typed organization, which will be supplied by three licensed producers:
- Organigram and Canopy Growth will supply 5,000 kg (5t) per year
- Zenabis will supply 4,000 kg (4t) per year
- This brings total up to 9,000kg/year
After doing some quick maths, we came to the conclusion that the supply which is supposed to cover the whole province for a year comes down to 12 grams per resident.
If the rest of Canadian provinces were to take New Brunswick’s numbers into account, Canada would need at least 435 tons of cannabis on a yearly basis.
Given that not every resident of NB is a stoner, but more likely every 5th, this means that every stoner will have at the very most 60g/year for himself.
Not a whole lot, when you take into account the 7% of people that smoke daily which will go through their whole yearly stash in under a month probably…
I wonder how long would it take NB’s daily smokers to smoke the province’s yearly stash?
Under the condition that daily smokers consume 2 grams daily, the ~50k daily consumers located in New Brunswick would smoke about a 100,000 grams per day.
In a year, that same group of people would have smoked an approximate of 35 million grams, which is almost 4x the whole provincial supply.
Even if we take down the daily use to one gram for every consumer, it would still approximate to 2x the supply announced by the government.
Then we have to account for those that smoke only on a weekly and monthly basis. Let’s not even take into account the 8% that smoke every once in a blue moon.
Here’s a list showing you just how much cannabis will be roughly needed to supply all the demands, and not just those of regular daily smokers:
But, what does this mean for the rest of Canada, and its provinces more specifically?
Foreshadowing recreational cannabis market in Canada
By multiplying the number of grams NB’s government has in thoughts for every resident of the province, we got a total of 435.5 million grams.
Is that number supposed to represent the whole supply for a country with over 36 million people?
No, not even close.
I understand that there are no definitive norms when it comes down to how much an average daily cannabis consumer smokes, but as a daily smoker myself I can definitely say I smoke anywhere between 1 to 3 grams per day, depending on if its a workday or a weekend.
So, by smoking 1 gram on work days and 2-3 grams on weekends (let’s take 2.5 for the sake of lowering the numbers) that’s a total of 10 grams per week or 1.43 grams per day.
For the 6.5% of Canadians that smoke every day (2.36 million people), bad news is coming our way as we might need over 1.2 billion grams (1,200 tons) per year for our needs.
As you may see that’s nearly 3x the whole market size, just for daily smokers.
Let us apply the numbers from the previous list to the general Canadian population:
Whatever numbers you apply, except maybe for the absolute lowest ones, the outcome is always the same — Canada is up for a dry season when it comes to cannabis for the first couple months, or maybe even a year or two.
We will probably see surges in the supply every now and then once the next generation of plants is ready to be harvested and sent out to stores.
Given how the primary goal of the federal government was downsizing the black market, I see no signs of moving in that direction with the current setup in New Brunswick.
How will the provinces respond?
Many provinces haven’t yet fully wrapped their heads around the whole cannabis ordeal.
Alberta, Ontario, Quebec, and Manitoba have so far given hints and some have even come out with formal announcements of the plan, but many other including British Columbia have not yet decided which road they will be taking.
Take a look at this list, which represents the supply implemented in New Brunswick compared to how it fares in other provinces:
|Province||Residents||Yearly kg||Yearly tons|
|Prince Edward Island||146,000||1,752||~2|
I came very close to the 435 tons which I calculated off the top of my head, but due to rounding down numbers turned out a bit smaller.
We are now left to wait and see what other provinces will choose as their course of action with little over 8 months till legalization hits the streets.