The Canadian government is launching a $1.3-billion free market initiative later this week which will provide 450,000 Canadians with quality medical marijuana. Health Canada is eliminating an old system that basically relied on homegrown medical marijuana
Under the new system, large indoor marijuana farms which are certified by the Royal Canadian Mounted Police and health inspectors will produce, package and distribute a range of standardized grass. The pot will be sold for whatever price the market will bear.
“We’re fairly confident that we’ll have a healthy commercial industry in time,” said Sophie Galarneau, a senior official with the department. “It’s a whole other ball game. We expect that over time, prices will be driven down by the free market. The lower price range will likely be around $3 a gram. ... It’s hard to predict.” Health Canada currently sells medical marijuana for $5 a gram.
This program will be kicking off even as Liberal Leader Justin Trudeau’s campaign to legalize recreational marijuana has been facing increasing scrutiny. Growers who are able to obtain licenses under the new system will be in good shape if marijuana does become legalized for recreational use.
Eric Nash of Island Harvest in Duncan, B.C., has applied for one of the new licenses. “The opportunity in the industry is significant,” he said. “We’ll see a lot of moving and shaking within the industry, with companies positioning. And I think we’ll see some mergers and acquisitions, strategic alliances formed. It’ll definitely yield benefits to the consumers and certainly for the economy and society in general.”
156 firms have already applied for the lucrative new licenses, The Globe And Mail reported.