09/29/2013 02:10 EDT | Updated 11/29/2013 05:12 EST

Medical Marijuana Price Will Skyrocket Under New Rules, Health Canada Projects

Midlands, KwaZulu Natal Province, South Africa

OTTAWA - Facts and figures on the medical marijuana regime in Canada, which is changing rules by March 31, 2014, to encourage large private-sector growers:

Current number of medical marijuana users approved by Health Canada: 37,359, up from 477 in 2002.

Number of patients with personal licences to grow marijuana for themselves: 25,600 (ends March 31, 2014)

Number of growers licenced to produce marijuana for a maximum of two patients each: 4,200 (ends March 31, 2014)

Current number of entrepreneur applications to grow medical marijuana under new rules allowing larger facilities: 156

Health Canada's current price for medical marijuana produced under contract: $5 a gram (government sales end March 31, 2014)

Health Canada's projection of profitable private-sector price in 2014 after the new free-market kicks in: $7.60

Projection of average price as market matures in several years: $8.80

Advertised price of products of CanniMed, the first licensed distributor in the new system: $9 to $12 a gram

Current estimated cost of black-market dried marijuana purchased on the street: $10 to $15 a gram

Projected total additional cost to all approved patients as a result of the new system: $166 million a year for 10 years

Health Canada projection of number of approved medical marijuana patients in 2014: up to 58,000

Projection of number of patients by 2024: Up to 450,000

Sales projections for the new industry by 2024: $1.3 billion a year.

(Sources: Health Canada; CanniMed)

Note to readers: This is a corrected story. An earlier version had an incorrect spelling for CanniMed.

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