More Canadians buying cannabis only from legal sources, citing safety: StatCan - National - Read of Green
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More Canadians buying cannabis only from legal sources, citing safety: StatCan – National

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Source: Marijuana Moment

Nearly six years since cannabis became legal for sale in Canada, new data shows a majority of those using the products available are exclusively buying from legal sources.

The data released Monday found almost 72 per cent of Canadians who used cannabis in the 12 months before the national cannabis survey of 2023 was conducted bought only from a legal vendor.

When asked why they did so, product safety was the biggest reason for 38 per cent or respondents. About 17 per cent said the convenience of buying from the legal market was behind their decision-making. Approximately 13 per cent said they bought from a legal source because of their desire to follow the law.

Retail Cannabis Council of British Columbia board member Matthew Greenwood, who also owns cannabis store Up in Smoke in the province, said the numbers are “exciting.”

“It’s just nice to see that, you know, our work and the work of our peers is paying off,” he said in an interview with Global News.

The data found the type of product used by Canadians varies, with dried leaf or flower cannabis and edibles being among the most used.


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Greenwood said in B.C., one thing he’s been able to offer customers is “full transparency” because of where he buys his products.

“I can look every consumer in the eye and say I know where the best weed in Up in Smoke comes from, “I’ve met the farmer, I’ve been to the farm and I buy it farm fresh every week.’”

He also noted that after six years into legalization, cannabis is “beating beer and wine.”

Earlier this month, Statistics Canada sales data showed alcohol sales based on volume fell by 1.1 per cent, or 3,106 million litres in the 2022-23 fiscal year. At the same time, recreational cannabis sales by provincial authorities increased by 15.8 per cent year-over-year, to the tune of about $4.7 billion spent.

But while Canadians point to product safety as a main reason behind their cannabis purchases being done from legal sources, some health-care advocates say they have concerns.

Licensed pharmacist and health consultant Ken Weisbrod said there are pros and cons to “normalizing a drug,” but he said with 38 per cent of cannabis users in 2023 being 18-24, more work is needed.

“There are guide rails to the legal source, which is great. There needs to be a lot more,” he said in an interview. “What you called safety is confusing for especially a young consumer. And you can see it’s concerning for all consumers of the drug.”

Weisbrod said he believes more study is needed into cannabis’ impact on the body, including long-term, but with more than 3,000 legal cannabis stores in Canada, he’s concerned about what Canadians may assume.

“I mean, you see some streets you got a cannabis store on every turn, rightmore cannabis stores than we have coffee shops now,” he said. “And so you walk by and (say), ‘man, it must be safe because the government approved it.’”

He said he is not necessarily opposed to people buying from legal sources, or for Canadians who may need it for therapeutic reasons, such as going through chemotherapy, but there needs to be more work done on the “guide rails” around cannabis.

“I tell my children all the time, I’ve got a 26-year-old and 23-year-old, ‘If you’re going to smoke cannabis, guys, buy it from a legal source for sure, but always talk to me about it,’” he said.

&copy 2024 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.

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