OTTAWA - The Conservative government is launching a billion-dollar industry this week, as it encourages entrepreneurs to get out and grow some weed.
Health Canada is starting to phase out its old medical marijuana program for a new one this week, which will license large-scale marijuana farms.
By next year, there will be a free market in medical marijuana, supplying some 37,000 approved patients — a number that's expect to grow to 450,000 in the next decade.
So far, more than 150 firms have applied for licences and two were granted them last week.
A spokeswoman for Health Canada says average prices are expected to hit $7.60 a gram next year but competition could eventually push them as low as $3.
Government officials project that the new industry could eventually see revenues of $1.3 billion a year.
— with files from Ben Makuch
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