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.

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Midway mill shutdown expected to last 8 to 10 weeks

Vaagen Fibre Canada cites low inventory, road restrictions as reason for shut down

First presumptive case of coronavirus identified in the Interior Health region

The woman, in her 30s, travelled from Shanghai and lives in the interior

Students test out future careers with WorkBC visit

By far, WorkBC tour manager said, the airplane pilot station was a favourite

Tonnes of food diverted to food bank from Grand Forks grocery store

In December alone, the Boundary Community Food Bank took in more than 4,000 kgs of perishable food

Construction on Castlegar cannabis facility to start soon

Craft cannabis park will be first of its kind in Canada.

VIDEO: Minister reports ‘modest progress’ after blockade talks with First Nation

Wet’suwet’en hereditary chiefs say Coastal GasLink does not have authority to go through their lands

Henrique scores 2 as Ducks soar past Canucks 5-1

Vancouver tumbles out of top spot in Pacific Division

Trudeau cancels Caribbean trip amid pipeline protests across Canada

Protests against Coastal GasLink have disrupted rail service

B.C. VIEWS: Inaction on pipeline protests not a viable response

Columnist Frank Bucholtz on how the Coastal GasLink pipeline dispute got so bad

PHOTOS: Top 10 memories of the 2010 Olympics

Black Press Media’s Jenna Hauck, shares some of her most memorable images of 2010 Winter Games

#FoxForFiver: Support grows in B.C. to put Terry Fox on new $5 bill

Terry Fox’ Marathon of Hope raised money for cancer research

Registration opens soon for BC 55+ Games in Richmond

2020 55+ Games have been officially scheduled for Sept. 15 to 19

Trudeau confers with cabinet ministers as rail blockades continue

The Trudeau government has been criticized for not doing more to end the blockades

Canadian nurses’ unions warn national standards for coronavirus protection too low

President says safety protocols nationwide are inadequate compared to those in Ontario and other countries

Most Read