Deloitte has doubled the size of its Canadian cannabis consultancy business by snapping up Ontario-based Cannabis Compliance Inc.

It will see CCI’s 75 employees move to the Deloitte Canada head office in downtown Toronto, where they will team up with existing staff to form a new subsidiary called CCI Deloitte.

CCI founder and chair Brian Wagner joins Deloitte as a senior advisor, while president and chief executive Dale Hoop, chief financial officer Sid Hathiramani and vice president of quality and regulatory Karina Lahnakoski will become partners in Deloitte’s Risk Advisory practice.

Deloitte is one of the Big Four accounting organizations and it is the largest professional services business in the world by revenue – it brought in a record $46.2 billion in FY 2019 – and by staff count. It has around 264,000 employees across the globe, and 14,000 of them are based in Canada.

Anthony Viel, chief executive at Deloitte Canada, said that Canada has rapidly established itself as the global leader in the cannabis industry. He believes it provides the perfect opportunity to assess the unique risks and challenges the sector faces before advising businesses in other countries, where cannabis legislation is evolving.

“By putting Canadian values at the forefront, we can shape the future of responsible and competitive cannabis business growth to help the industry mature in Canada and around the world,” said Viel.

The plan is now to offer resources and consultancy services to cannabis companies across the spectrum, in Canada and around the world.

Deloitte has previously compiled in-depth reports on the Canadian cannabis trade. Earlier this year, it predicted that the next stage of legalization – dubbed Cannabis 2.0 – will add more than $2.5 billion in annual sales, while allowing retailers to make a higher margin.

The first edibles, beverages, and other concentrates will start hitting shelves imminently, and Deloitte anticipates strong demand. It feels these new products will appeal to consumers that were reluctant to smoke weed and said that female Canadians are likely to prefer familiar consumption formats such as baked goods.

It has also liaised with colleagues around the world, and it reports that the global market for alternative cannabis products is expected to nearly double over the next five years, to US$194 billion.

It believes that more than half of the estimated $2.7 billion Canadian market for alternative cannabis products will be spent on edibles ($1.6 billion), followed by cannabis-infused beverages ($529 million), topicals ($174 million), concentrates ($140 million), tinctures ($116 million), and lastly capsules ($114 million).