StatsCannabis data availability: Crowdsourced cannabis prices, second quarter 2019
The government of Canada legalized the production and sale of cannabis for non-medical purposes on October 17, 2018. Prior to legalization, Statistics Canada updated the StatsCannabis crowdsourcing application to capture changes in consumer behaviours due to the newly legal status of cannabis. Updates included new questions on the source of supply (legal or illegal) and first time use, in addition to the original questions on price, location, consumption, quality and quantity purchased.
From April 1 to June 30, 2019, StatsCannabis received 697 price submissions, 572 of which were deemed plausible. Even though submissions have been subjected to outlier detection, estimates are subject to potential statistical bias because the sample is self-selected and the number of responses is limited. Caution should therefore be exercised in the interpretation and use of these data.
In the second quarter, the average price of cannabis per gram fell to $7.87 from $8.03 in the first quarter (-2.0%). The decline was attributable to lower reported illegal prices (down from $6.23 per gram to $5.93), which offset the rise in legal prices (up from $10.21 per gram to $10.65).
The share of respondents purchasing from illegal sources rose to 59% in the second quarter of 2019, up from 55% in the first quarter. The share of respondents who reported purchasing illegally due to "legal cannabis being too expensive" rose from 27% in the first quarter of 2019, to 34% in the second quarter. The share of individuals who reported purchasing cannabis illegally due to "difficulty accessing legal cannabis" fell to 8% in the second quarter of 2019, from 18% in the fourth quarter of 2018 post-legalization. This aligns with an increase in government-licenced retailers in recent quarters.
Since May 2018, Statistics Canada has been acquiring cannabis prices from the websites of illegal online cannabis retailers. Illegal storefronts are excluded in this dataset. These data were acquired in order to support research and validate the price information collected through the StatsCannabis application, as well as to provide an additional data source.
Over 423,000 prices were collected over this period, with an average of 32,500 prices collected each month. According to this analysis, the average price per gram of dried cannabis was $8.44 in the second quarter of 2019, down from $8.61 in the first quarter.
The trends observed in the data acquired from other websites align with the information collected through the StatsCannabis application, although the information from these other websites indicates that the price levels are generally higher online than what is reported by the StatsCannabis application. The higher prices are not out of line with the StatsCannabis data since online retailers would have higher overhead costs than other illegal sources.
The product Cannabis Stats Hub (13-610-X) is available.
The Latest Developments in the Canadian Economic Accounts (13-605-X) is also available.
The User Guide: Canadian System of Macroeconomic Accounts (13-606-G) is also available.
The Methodological Guide: Canadian System of Macroeconomic Accounts (13-607-X) is also available.
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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