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

Lexi Bainas column: Roger Sparkes honoured, CVAC art show now new and improved

A well-deserved posthumous award goes to Cowichan Theatre’s biggest booster

Workshop helps Cowichan residents understand basic of dementia journey

Free Getting to Know Dementia workshop to Duncan on Thursday, May 2.

Drivesmart column: Liability: pedestrians and drivers turning left

Alexander Zacher was walking to work early on the morning of Oct. 31, 2014 in Tsawwassen.

Robert Barron column: Will the opioid crisis ever end?

There were 31 small white crosses placed about a half-foot apart

VIDEO: Next up on ‘World of Dance’: Vancouver Island’s Funkanometry faces ‘The Cut’

Fans of Funkanometry: the Vancouver Island hip hop duo that have reached… Continue reading

‘No answers:’ Canadians react to Sri Lanka bombings that killed hundreds

The co-ordinated bomb attacks killed at least 207 people and injured 450 more on Easter Sunday

Coming up in Cowichan: Easter Eggspress; knitting workshops

Hop aboard the Easter Eggspress at the BCFDC The Easter Eggspress is… Continue reading

RCMP confirm witnesses say body found at Kelowna’s Gyro Beach

Police tape is blocking part of the beach and several RCMP officers are on scene.

B.C. fire department rescues kittens

Enderby homeowner not aware kittens in wood pile near garbage pile fire that got out of hand

QUIZ: How much do you know about Easter?

Take this short quiz and put your knowledge to the test

B.C. VIEWS: NDP’s lawyer show is turning into a horror movie

Court actions pile up over pipelines, car insurance, care aides

Global Affairs warns Canadians in Sri Lanka there could be more attacks

A series of bomb blasts killed at least 207 people and injured hundreds more

Waste not: Kootenay brewery leftovers feed the local food chain

Spent grains from the Trail Beer Refinery are donated to local farmers and growers, none go to waste

Most Read