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).
“Like it or not the legal cannabis sector now provides thousands of Canadian families with their livelihoods. The power of data, like that released by Deloitte today, is that it makes clear to federal policymakers that the regulatory and legislative decisions they make have a real impact on working families,” Omar Khan, senior VP of corporate and public affairs at High Tide (NASDAQ:HITI) told Benzinga.
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.
"Ostensibly, economic benefit wasn't a goal of legalization, but clearly the country is benefitting off the industry in terms of tax revenue and various other economic metrics. Given this clear benefit, does the government have the responsibility to support the industry with good policy as it does other sectors?" Khan said. "The Trudeau government is missing a political opportunity by not talking about the economic benefits of legalization."
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.