According to a new report from Statistics Canada, legalizing cannabis in Canada didn’t have much of an impact on how many people consume cannabis.
Figures from the survey show that about 15 percent of Canadians over the age of 15 reported consuming cannabis in the last three months, and 19 percent of Canadians said they planned on using cannabis within the next three months. Nearly half of those who reported using cannabis said they did so recreationally, while one quarter said they used cannabis for medical reasons.
The survey found non-medical cannabis consumers were less likely to buy from legal channels, with only 26 percent reporting they purchased cannabis from authorized retailers. That number may continue to underwhelm as the price of cannabis in Canada has only risen since legalization. Statistics Canada found that cannabis prices rose 17 percent from the beginning of legalization and the end of 2018.
The survey reported that 42 percent of nonmedical consumers obtained cannabis illegally, whether it was from a drug dealer, compassion clubs, unlicensed businesses and unlicensed websites. Canadians pointed out a number of factors that influence where they purchase their cannabis, with quality and safety, price, and accessibility being reported by more than three-quarters of all cannabis consumers.
Between mid-October, when legal cannabis sales began in Canada, and the end of 2018, total cannabis sales was valued around $210 million, due to a drop in demand from medical patients and a shortage of supply. A report from cannabis research firm Brightfield Group estimated the industry’s value using the post-legalization sales and found Canada’s cannabis industry will be worth just $5 billion by 2021, far less than the original estimate. Brightfield Group had previously estimated Canada’s cannabis industry to be worth $8 billion by 2021, however, this is the first time data from recreational sales was used to estimate how big the industry could be.