Marijuana in Montreal: Quebec entrepreneurs look to cash in

Pot is big business, and local entrepreneurs are hoping to cash in.

One grower says business would 'explode tremendously' once pot is legalized

Dany Lefebvre, owner of Vert Médica in St-Lucien, Que., is focusing on hemp while awaiting word on the Liberal government's plans regarding marijuana. (Ainslie Maclellan/CBC)

Pot is big business, and local entrepreneurs are hoping to cash in. 

The Trudeau government has pledged to legalize and regulate access to marijuana, and this week on CBC Montreal's Daybreak and at, we've been exploring the ways in which legalization will change the province. 

On Wednesday, Daybreak spoke to two growers — Sebastien St-Louis of The Hydropothecary and Dany Lefebvre of Vert Médical —​ on the changes to come.

St-Louis is the founder of Quebec's only licensed producer of medical marijuana.

Here are excerpts of his interview with Mike Finnerty: 

On a growing business

Business is booming for Canadian medical marijuana growers. (CBC)
Business is fantastic, honestly, and better than we were hoping at this particular time. Sales are doubling every month. 

It's quite remarkable and this is purely on the medical side.

On the potential market

Legalization could create a $7 to $8 billion market in Canada, Sebastien St-Louis says. (David Zalubowski/The Associated Press)
It would explode tremendously. I mean we're doubling every month and it would probably accelerate even more than that. Right now, the medical marijuana market in Canada, once fully developed, should be about $1 billion.

Now if we were to move to a retail, recreational model that's legal, we're modelling, very conservatively a  $7 to $8 billion market in Canada. About 30 per cent of Canadians will occasionally use marijuana. About 10 per cent use it habitually.

On the economic impact

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau says the Liberal plan to legalize pot has always been about public health and safety, not making money. (Pawel Dwulit/Canadian Press)
I think so. At least on a local level for now, I'm very pleased to say that Hydropothecary has contributed to that. We already have 25 employees, now this is all new hires, they are very good jobs — high tech jobs — because marijuana marries farming and pharmacy.

I think over the next 24 months we can see ourselves growing into 100 employees.

On the black market

Proponents of legalization argue it would improve the quality of marijuana available. (Rich Pedroncelli/Associated Press)
What we're going to see first of all is an increase in quality.  

There are some controls and more consistency than what you would be able to find on the street. And with the increase in quality and of course the increase in volumes that we're talking about, we should also see a reduction in the costs of production.

On public health concerns

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau has said legalization would come with strict controls. (Sean Gallup/Getty Images)
They are very valid concerns and that's why we have to do it in a quality way.

Responsible distribution will be important going forward, and an important element will be getting it out of the hands of children.


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