This time next year, legal and regulated marijuana will be sold across Canada. As the debate rages on about the medical and legal risks of cannabis, the existing industry is preparing for exponential growth.

National Access Cannabis estimates the legal marijuana market in Canada could be worth $22.6 billion. Some of that will go straight to governments in the form of new tax revenue.

“We only need to take a look at our neighbours down south to see what's been taking place in some of the legalized states,” says Kenny Lord of National Access Cannabis.

In the meantime, the medical cannabis industry is also growing with dispensaries sprouting up across the Maritimes.

A job listing in Halifax is offering six figures to a qualified master grower at AtlantiCann Medical Inc. The posting says the successful applicant will manage a state of the art medical marijuana production facility with 30 employees.

According to Health Canada's website, there are no licensed producers in Nova Scotia today.

Marijuana dispensary owner Chris Enns says most medical marijuana sold here comes from outside the province, but it appears some Nova Scotians are interested in learning the skills required in the industry.

“It's my understanding that there's a handful of licensed producer applicants in Nova Scotia that have had their applications on board with Health Canada for a number of years now,” says marijuana dispensary owner Chris Enns.

Cannabis Training University is based in Denver, Colo., where pot has been legal since 2014. CEO Jeff Zorn tells CTV News there are currently hundreds of Canadians and around a dozen Nova Scotians taking the online courses.

That's why Kenny Lord says he hopes the province will allow private partners to play a role in the legalized industry.

“You're going to need to see medium and smaller businesses have the opportunity to participate,” says Lord. 

Nova Scotia's justice department says no decisions have been made about how or where legal pot will be sold.

With files from CTV Atlantic’s Sarah Ritchie.