The number of Canadians directly employed by the cannabis cultivation industry has increased by 250% in the past year, according to the latest Statistics Canada data.

There were 2,630 people working in the industry in April 2018 and that shot up considerably after recreational cannabis was legalized in October 2018. By April 2019, there were 9,200 people employed by federally licensed cannabis producers.

The number of companies also increased from 83 to 175, while revenue rose to $647 million in the year to April 2019, according to Statistics Canada.

It reported that total assets for the cannabis industry reached $4.2 billion in April, up from $2.5 billion at the end of the 2017/18 fiscal year. Salaries and bonuses accounted for roughly 29% of business expenses for licensed producers.

Statistics Canada is a government agency that conducts active consumer and patient surveys to produce statistics that help foster an open and democratic society. It has taken a significant interest in the cannabis industry and created a dedicated Cannabis Stats Hub, which compiles the majority of its findings.

Last week it released the results of its Q2 2019 National Cannabis Survey, which suggested that Canadian men are almost twice as likely as women to have used cannabis this year. Twenty-one percent of males aged 15 and older said they have used cannabis in the first half of 2019, compared to 12% of women.

More than half of the Canadian males that use cannabis said it is purely for recreational use, whereas it was an even split between medical, recreational, and both for women.

Three-quarters of marijuana users said they smoked dried flower, while 26% consumed edibles, despite them being illegal. The market will open up for edibles and other concentrates in October 2019 and the first products should hit shelves in December.

Four in 10 cannabis consumers said they sourced it via illicit means, according to the report. Those that visited licensed retailers said they wanted to be assured of quality and safety.

Nova Scotia saw the highest prevalence of cannabis use, as one in four people enjoyed it during 2019, followed by Alberta, which saw one in five residents consume cannabis. Quebec, which has the most stringent regulations in the country, had the lowest prevalence rate, as just one in 10 people said they had smoked cannabis in the past year.

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