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Cannabis statistics

Released: 2018-10-17

Today, the Cannabis Act became law, making it legal for people to use cannabis recreationally in Canada.

Statistics Canada has been closely monitoring—and will continue to monitor—the country's transition to legal cannabis by producing a wide range of statistics to measure its potential impact on society and the economy.

StatsCannabis

Canadians can help produce data on cannabis by visiting―today and over the course of the next year―the agency's crowdsourcing platform, StatsCannabis, and providing information on how much they pay for their cannabis, where they purchase it and for what reason. Users can visit the site and share their information with confidence; participation is voluntary and anonymous.

High-quality statistics will ensure Canadians, governments and businesses are equipped to make informed decisions throughout the transition and in the following years.

To this end, the agency has published many cannabis-related statistics and analytical papers over the past year on its website and in the Cannabis Stat Hub.

Below is a list of available statistics and products.

Survey data and economic accounts

National Cannabis Survey

Statistics Canada collaborated with its partners at Health Canada, Public Safety Canada and the Public Health Agency of Canada to develop this survey and produce timely information on the cannabis consumption habits of Canadians.

The latest National Cannabis Survey results—for the third quarter of 2018—were released on October 11, 2018. About 4.6 million or 15% of Canadians aged 15 and older reported using cannabis in the third quarter, similar to what was reported throughout 2018. Use remained more common among males and 15- to 24-year-olds.

Over the first nine months of 2018 (combined survey data for the first, second and third quarters), 14% of cannabis users with a valid driver's licence reported driving within two hours of using.

The agency released the survey's first quarter results on April 18, 2018, and second quarter results on August 9, 2018.

Access by Canadians to regulated liquor and cannabis retail outlets

On October 10, 2018, Statistics Canada released estimates of cannabis retail outlets for the fourth quarter of 2018. Based on early information from regulatory authorities, an estimated 288 cannabis retail outlets will be open for business during the fourth quarter.

StatsCannabis

Statistics Canada launched the StatsCannabis crowdsourcing platform on January 25, 2018, inviting Canadians to anonymously submit information on what they pay for cannabis. As of September 30, the platform had received 19,053 responses.

The agency has been publishing updates of data collected through StatsCannabis since February 2, 2018.The latest data were published on October 4, 2018, and showed that participants paid $7.20 per gram on average for dried cannabis in the third quarter, up 1.3% from $7.10 per gram in the second quarter and up 6.2% from $6.78 in the first quarter.

Estimating the demand for cannabis

Statistics Canada combined National Cannabis Survey data with census data to estimate the demand for cannabis expected in the fourth quarter of 2018.

Published on September 21, 2018, these estimates show that 5.4 million people are expected to want to purchase legal cannabis in the fourth quarter and that 1.7 million people will continue to buy illegal cannabis.

Spending on legal cannabis is expected to range from $816 million to $1,018 million in the fourth quarter. In contrast, purchases of illegal cannabis are anticipated to range from $254 million to $317 million, accounting for about 24% of the total market.

Cannabis Economic Account

First released on January 25, 2018, the Cannabis Economic Account used results from several surveys and administrative data sources to produce a set of provisional estimates related to the production, consumption and distribution of cannabis.

The Cannabis Economic Account pegged the size of the cannabis industry in Canada at $3.0 billion in 2017, on par with the beer industry and larger than the tobacco industry.

Statistics Canada released an update of the account on August 24, 2018, which showed that household spending on cannabis rose 1.2% in the second quarter of 2018 to $5.7 billion. These expenditures have been increasing steadily since the first quarter of 2015, rising at an average rate of 1.0% per quarter.

Cannabis Provincial and Territorial Economic Accounts

The Cannabis Provincial and Territorial Economic Accounts, published on April 30, 2018, are a set of provisional estimates related to the production, consumption and distribution of cannabis in the provinces and territories.

British Columbia produced the most cannabis products in Canada in 2017, accounting for 36.6% of the total, followed by Quebec (31.0%) and Ontario (22.7%).

A snapshot of licensed cannabis producers

Published on April 16, 2018, this snapshot provided information on the production, inventories, revenues, expenses, employment and capital expenditures of licensed cannabis producers in Canada.

Production of dried cannabis by these firms was 80 535 kilograms in 2017, with 46 186 kilograms sold and 38 927 kilograms in stock at the end of the year.

Experimental estimates of cannabis consumption in Canada

On December 18, 2017, Statistics Canada published the first experimental volume estimates of cannabis consumption in Canada from 1960 to 2015, along with corresponding estimates for the number of consumers.

According to these new estimates, Canadians' overall consumption of cannabis totalled 697.5 tonnes in 2015.

Analytical studies

Prevalence and correlates of non-medical only and self-defined medical and non-medical cannabis use

This study, published on July 18, 2018, examined the prevalence of, and the characteristics associated with, people reporting cannabis use exclusively for non-medical purposes. It also looked at people who reported mixed use—that is, some self-defined medical use in combination with non-medical use.

Study results show that 9.5% of Canadians aged 15 and older used cannabis in the previous year for non-medical purposes exclusively, while another 2.8% reported using cannabis for self-defined medical purposes in addition to non-medical use.

Association between the frequency of cannabis use and selected social indicators

Published on May 3, 2018, this study explored the association between frequency of cannabis use, mental and physical health, confidence in institutions, and victimization.

According to the study, one-quarter of Canadians had tried cannabis by age 18, and daily users of cannabis were more likely to have started to use cannabis at an early age. In addition, there is an association between the presence of a physical or mental health disability and frequent cannabis use.

Analysis of trends in the prevalence of cannabis use in Canada

This study was published on February 11, 2018, and examined the long-term trends in cannabis use in Canada using data from nine different surveys.

The study showed that cannabis use among Canadians aged 15 years and older more than doubled from 1985 (5.6%) to 2015 (12.3%).

Methodology papers

Preparing the statistical system for the legalization of cannabis

Published on September 15, 2017, this paper described in detail Statistics Canada's work to adapt its economic statistics programs to better track the role of cannabis in the Canadian economy, both before and after the legalization of cannabis.

Cannabis Economic Account – The framework

Statistics Canada developed the Cannabis Economic Account to capture the economic role of cannabis in Canada. On November 11, 2017, the agency published the methodology behind the account to help Canadians understand and interpret the new data.

The first Cannabis Economic Account data were published on January 25, 2018.

Constructing historical cannabis consumption volume estimates for Canada

On February 21, 2018, Statistics Canada released a detailed account of how it produced its experimental estimates of cannabis consumption in Canada, which were released on December 18, 2017.

Using municipal wastewater to measure Canadians' consumption of cannabis and opioids

Statistics Canada announced on February 22, 2018, that it would be teaming up with certain municipalities to test a new way of measuring Canadians' cannabis consumption―through the analysis of municipal wastewater.

At the same time, the agency released a report detailing the methodology behind this new approach.

Preparing the social statistics system for the legalization of cannabis

Published on October 12, 2018, this paper described in detail Statistics Canada's work to adapt its economic statistics programs to better track the impact of cannabis on Canadian society, both before and after the legalization of cannabis.

Contact information

For more information, or to enquire about the concepts, methods or data quality of this release, contact us (toll-free 1-800-263-1136; 514-283-8300; STATCAN.infostats-infostats.STATCAN@canada.ca) or Media Relations (613-951-4636; STATCAN.mediahotline-ligneinfomedias.STATCAN@canada.ca).

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