cbc.ca; The old system fostered only a cottage industry, with 4,200 growers licensed to produce for a maximum of two patients each. The Mounties have complained repeatedly these grow-ops were often a front for criminal organizations.
The next six months are a transition period, as Health Canada phases out the old system by March 31, while encouraging medical marijuana users to register under the replacement regime and to start buying from the new factory-farms.
There are currently 37,400 medical marijuana users recognized by the department, but officials project that number will swell more than 10-fold, to as many as 450,000 people, by 2024.
The profit potential is enormous. A gram of dried marijuana bud on the street sells for about $10 and Health Canada projects the legal stuff will average about $7.60 next year, as producers set prices without interference from government.
Chuck Rifici of Tweed Inc. has applied for a licence to produce medical weed in an abandoned Hershey chocolate factory in hard-scrabble Smiths Falls, Ont.
Rifici, who is also a senior adviser to Trudeau, was cited in a Conservative cabinet minister’s news release Friday that said the Liberals plan to “push pot,” with no reference to Health Canada’s own encouragement of marijuana entrepreneurs.
Rifici says he’s trying to help a struggling community by providing jobs while giving suffering patients a quality product.
“There’s a real need,” he said in an interview. “You see what this medicine does to them.”
Revenue to hit $1.3 billion
Tweed Inc. proposes to produce at least 20 strains to start, and will reserve 10 per cent of production for compassionate, low-cost prescriptions for impoverished patients, he says.