Despite these efforts to ramp up production, Canadian licensed producers are still unlikely to meet the anticipated recreational demand of between 400,000 and 1 million kilograms in time for legalization. According to Denver-based consulting firm Marijuana Policy Group, publicly traded producers have bankrolled capacity to produce more than 1.25 million kilograms of cannabis, but build out and licensing take time.
In Alberta, there are currently nine licensed producers, and, as of August, another 76 in the application process.
At least eight of these applications are for facilities in the Edmonton region, including one by the largest publicly traded cannabis company in the world, Canopy Growth.
Worth over $14 billion on the Toronto Stock Exchange, Canopy Growth has committed to centralizing its western operations in Edmonton. The licensed producer intends to operate up to five facilities in the area. The first is in a retrofitted 160,000-square-foot-warehouse, located in the southeast Morris industrial park.
Edmonton-based Aurora Cannabis, which trails Canopy Growth in value at $12.88 billion, completed its first harvest this summer and awaits a final sales licence for its new state-of-the-art facility, located next to the Edmonton International Airport. At 800,000 square-feet, Aurora Sky is the largest cannabis production facility in the world and can produce more than 100,000 kilograms of dried cannabis per year.
Global grow opps
Global demand is also on the rise, and though more than 25 countries currently have legal medical cannabis programs, only five — Canada, the Netherlands, the U.K., Uruguay, and most recently, Australia — export the drug.
As countries establish in-country growing programs, Canadian licensed producers are busy signing export deals and setting up facilities in these underdeveloped markets before more jurisdictions join the estimated $57-billion fray.
"The prospects internationally are absolutely enormous," Aurora Cannabis chief operating officer Cam Battley told 630 CHED earlier this year. "This is an opportunity for leading Canadian companies to put their stamp on the world, and we virtually have no competition right now. It's an exciting time."
Last spring, Aurora acquired leading German narcotics wholesale distributor Pedanios. The move resulted in record earnings and has opened up the entire European Union market to the company, according to Battley.