Poll says as many as seven million possible customers for legal weed in Canada as support hits new heights

Ashley Csanady writes…
A legal marijuana industry in Canada would have between 6- and 7-million potential customers, an exclusive new poll has found — or about a third of the country’s adults.

A new Forum Research survey of 1,256 adults found 18 per cent of respondents had already used pot in the past year and another 13 per cent would if it were legal, for a combined 31 per cent of the adult population older than 18.
“The size of the market… should be good news for the potential industry players waiting to open shop here,” said Forum Research President Lorne Bozinoff in a release.

That adds up to huge economic potential for the marijuana industry, which is already worth between $80- and $100-million a year providing the substance to 45,000 or so medical pot users. Some industry analysts suggest the total possible market for legal weed in Canada could top $5 billion, the Financial Post reports.

Colorado, the first U.S. jurisdiction to fully legalize marijuana, has a population just under 5.4 million and government estimates suggest close to 700,000 of them are potential consumers of legal weed. Even with a market a tenth of the size of a potential one in Canada, that state sold more than 18 metric tonnes of pot in 2014, its first year of legalization. That netted US$63 million in tax revenue for the state and another US$13 million in licensing and fees on US$699 million in sales, according to Bloomberg. If Canada were to tax pot at a similar rate — Colorado charges a 15 per cent excise tax, a 10 per cent retail marijuana tax, in addition to 2.9 per cent state sales tax and any local sales taxes, which are 3.5 per cent in Denver — the potential government revenue, at either the federal or provincial level, approaches $1-billion a year.

And, as marijuana legalization becomes less a discussion and more a reality, more Canadians than ever approve of the idea. Liberal Prime Minister Justin Trudeau has made pot legalization and taxation a government priority, and voters responded to the idea. In June, Forum found 53 per cent of eligible voters said their vote could be swayed by pot policy. In August, it found 53 per cent supported legalization and taxation regimes, down slightly from the 55 per cent who supported the policy in March of this year.

Now, with legal weed in sight, 59 per cent of respondents to the poll earlier this month said they support Trudeau if he moved “to legalize, regulate and tax marijuana, restricting its sale to adults 18 and over.” That support also rests on sales running through government agencies — like Ontario’s LCBO but for pot — with 45 per cent preferring that model of delivery.

“Now that marijuana legalization is a likelihood rather than a vague promise, Canadians are considering the issue more closely than in the past. They are just as much in favour of legalization as they were before the election, if not more, but they want to see it strictly licensed and controlled, not grown in basements and sold in corner stores,” Bozinoff said.

Considering the government’s need to bring in more tax money legalization mary jane, I believe it will come soon. So people what do you think…will Canadians see marijuana legalized soon?