With recreational marijuana legalization now in full swing, federal agencies have been busy collecting data on usage to monitor the burgeoning industry and identify trends in buying habits.
The latest StatCan report released this week revealed some surprising numbers, with nearly the exact same amount of people self-reporting cannabis usage as before recreational marijuana was legalized by the Cannabis Act.
According to this latest poll, 15% of Canadians – slightly more than four and a half million people – used cannabis in the last three months. That’s the same percentage as reported using marijuana in a previous StatCan poll conducted prior to legalization in October of 2018.
Of the 15% that reported using cannabis, half of respondents stated their usage was for strictly recreational or non-medical reasons. The other half who used cannabis for medical reasons reported much higher usage, however, with 70% of users with medical documentation consuming some form of cannabis every day.
Those steady numbers may not be the boom the legalized marijuana industry was hoping for, but there’s good news for cannabis companies hidden in the data as well.
While only 15% of those polled admitted to using cannabis, 19% stated their intention to use some form of marijuana product within the next three months.
Even accounting for respondents who may not want to reveal their smoking or edible consumption habits to the federal government, those numbers show a clear trend towards more acceptance of cannabis usage nationwide.
Aside from who is using cannabis and how often, the poll revealed clear trends in why consumers choose to buy from one location over any other.
Quality was by far the largest single motivating factor in where a consumer decided to buy marijuana – whether they were acquiring products from a licensed or black market source – with a whopping 76% stating quality was a significant part of their buying decision.
By contrast, lowest price was only listed as the primary consideration by 38% of respondents, while a mere 25% listed close proximity to a physical storefront to be a major concern.
That revelation throws into question some of the reasons for the continued success of the black market in light of legalization, with a StatCan report from last month revealing that legal sources tended to charge an average of $3 a gram more than illegal sources.
That pricing disparity, along with consistent shortages of supply while companies wait on Health Canada approval for grow space, has frequently been cited as the primary reason for lower than expected revenues and stock values in the marijuana industry.