Canada will begin replacing homegrown pot production with large, quality-controlled medical marijuana farms this week. The move will eventually serve half a million medical marijuana patients and make $1.3 billion annually.
"In [small farms] place, large indoor marijuana farms certified by the [Royal Canadian Mounted Police] and health inspectors will produce, package and distribute a range of standardized weed, all of it sold for whatever price the market will bear. The first sales are expected in the next few weeks, delivered directly by secure courier," said a report in Globe and Mail.
So far 156 firms have applied for lucrative producer and distributor status; the first two received licenses last week.
The old system included 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 new free market will likely establish a price of around $7.60 per gram of dried marijuana bud, according to posted by Canada's health department. They expect that sales will grow into the billions within 10 years.