Market Overview

Survey: Despite Marijuana Legalization, Canada Sees No Change In Number Of Consumers

Survey: Despite Marijuana Legalization, Canada Sees No Change In Number Of Consumers

Cannabis may have become legal in Canada Oct. 17, 2018, but the country's fourth-quarter National Cannabis Survey showed that roughly the same number of Canadians are lighting up as they did when the drug was illicit. And the country's black market is thriving.

The survey, released Feb. 7 by Statistics Canada, covers data collected between mid-November and mid-December and revealed some interesting insights about cannabis consumption in the new legal market.

Unchanged Number Of Consumers

The survey found that in the last three months, 15 percent of Canadians used cannabis. This represents around 4.6 million people and is similar to figures from the previous quarter, before legalization.

Almost one in five Canadians think they will use cannabis in the next three months.

Compared to the previous quarter, more men reported smoking cannabis (19.4 percent vs. 17.5 percent) and fewer women (11.3 percent vs. 12.5 percent) were consuming the drug.

Most Canadian cannabis consumers are between 25 and 44 years old (20.5 percent). At the same time, 11.6 percent of people between 45 and 64 and 5.1 percent of people over 65 also reported smoking cannabis.

As many as 13.7 percent of teenagers between 15 and 17 might also be consuming pot, which means that despite stringent regulations, minors are still able to access marijuana.

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Canadian Stoners Choose Quality, Safety Over Cost, Accessibility

Among cannabis consumers, the majority, or 76 percent, said the main factor in the decision to purchase cannabis is quality and safety. In addition, 38 percent cited cost and 33.2 percent mentioned proximity as being among the main reasons behind their purchase.

Other factors named by consumers include THC and CBD content and strain preferences.

Businesses should also keep in mind that sales support, anonymity, free shipping and fast delivery were also cited as factors behind cannabis users' buying decisions. 

More People Continue To Obtain Weed From Illegal Sources

Despite full legalization, the Canadian cannabis black market apparently continues to thrive.

A big share of consumers — 43 percent — said they get their weed through illegal sources and 40 percent obtain it through legal sources. Eight percent prefer growing weed and 39 percent said they source their weed from friends and family.

The NCS also found that most medical users acquire their weed from legal sources, while recreational users are more likely to go to illegal dealers or to obtain pot from friends and family.


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