Canadians who invested in cannabis companies have lost more than $131 billion, according to data collected by the law firm Miller Thomson, which calculated the total losses of 183 publicly traded and licensed cannabis producers. It's a staggering number that, if broken down per capita, would equate to each Canadian citizen losing about $43,000. Larry Ellis, a lawyer with the firm, points out that he "doesn't know of many Canadian investors who can afford to lose $40,000 individually."
From high times to large swaths of an industry now going up in smoke, the money lost is just one example of the current state of the Canadian cannabis industry. Many are now pointing the finger at the federal government's legalization rollout while noting that the black market is thriving.
Levon Kostanyan thought he'd found the perfect location for his retail cannabis shop on a busy pedestrian street in downtown Toronto. He opened his doors in September of 2021. Twelve months later, he was forced to close. Kostanyan says he has another three years on his lease. With a rent of $6,000 per month, he admits that "bankruptcy may be the only way to get out of here."
He spent nearly $300,000 on his retail store, with his family lending him the bulk of the money. "Licensing cost me $10,000 for this location. Then I had all my renovations, which was about $150,000. Then I had rent and operating costs, that's $60,000. Then I had an inventory of $50,000. So, we're already at $280,000, and that's not including payroll for employees and overhead like that," Kostanyan said.
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