StatCan says number of cannabis users relatively unchanged since legalization

About 4.6 million people, or 15 per cent of Canadians over age 15, reported using cannabis

The national statistics offices says legalizing cannabis doesn’t seem to have much changed how many people use the drug.

Figures released Thursday morning from Statistics Canada show about 4.6 million people, or 15 per cent of Canadians over age 15, reported using cannabis in the last three months.

Nearly half of Canadians who reported using cannabis said they did so for non-medical reasons, while one-quarter said they used it for medicinal purposes.

The national cannabis survey also found that non-medical cannabis users were less likely to buy cannabis legally, with only 26 per cent of them saying they bought the drug from authorized retailers or online producers.

The statistics agency reports that 42 per cent of non-medical users say they obtained cannabis illegally, such as through drug dealers, compassion clubs, unlicensed dispensaries or storefronts, and unlicensed websites.

The federal government legalized the use and sale of cannabis on Oct. 17, arguing it would push out the illicit drug trade and maintain public safety.

Statistics Canada has kept a close eye on use, prices and sales — including using some unorthodox sampling methods, such as asking people to report the prices they pay for illegal marijuana — to get a better picture of cannabis across the country.

One month ago, the agency reported that the average price of a legal gram of medical or non-medical weed during the fourth quarter last year was $9.70, compared to the black-market price of $6.51.

On Thursday, Statistics Canada said nearly one-third of consumers reported they didn’t spend anything on the marijuana they consumed. About eight per cent said they spent more than $500, or about $40 a week, which Statistics Canada says was consistent with the spending pattern in the previous quarter.

Consumers told the statistics agency that first and foremost they looked at the quality and safety of cannabis when deciding where to purchase it. Price and accessibility were second and third on the list.

Demand has been high for the legal product since Oct. 17, and Statistics Canada’s data suggest it could only increase.

The agency says nearly one in five Canadians, or 19 per cent, believe they will use cannabis in the next three months — a higher figure than those who reported current use.

The Canadian Press

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

Just Posted

Photos: Sicamous braves the frigid lake waters for polar bear swim

Eager swimers lined the lakeside despite a frosty morning

Sparks fly off Steinway Grand during Vernon Valentine’s show

CONCERT REVIEW: NOCCA piano duo impresses

Fundraiser started for mother who had stroke while visiting Central Okanagan family

Tina Parry was visiting her daughter Rita Bruce Nanakeain and grandsons when she had a stroke

Salmon Arm students win province-wide Great Waters Challenge

Video, mural and song about saving the salmon claims the top prize

Nursing students bring their passion for helping the homeless to Salmon Arm

The need for an outreach worker is near the top of their wish list

VIDEO: Historic night in Red Deer as 2019 Canada Winter Games kicks off

Star-studded Opening Ceremony features athletes from across Canada

James says B.C. budget puts priorities on NDP’s poverty, environment plans

She said she expected the government’s poverty reduction and climate change strategies to be priorities in the budget

PHOTOS: Day 1 of the 2019 Canada Winter Games in Red Deer

Games kicked off in Red Deer this week

Ammonia leak shuts down curling club in Nelson

It’s not yet clear when the leak was detected

Pavelski’s 31st goal helps Sharks top Canucks 3-2

Vancouver one point out of second NHL wild-card spot

Junior Bonspiel sweeps away the winter blues in Salmon Arm

Youth curlers take to the ice for circus-themed sompetition

Eight cases of measles confirmed in Vancouver outbreak

Coastal Health official say the cases stem from the French-language Ecole Jules Verne Secondary

Ontario police field complaints over Amber Alert for missing girl, 11, found dead

Some said the Amber Alert issued late Thursday for Riya Rajkumar disrupted their sleep

Former B.C. premier Gordon Campbell accused of sexual touching

Accuser went to police, interviewed by Britian’s Daily Telegraph

Most Read