- According to an annual Health Canada survey, Canadians will buy more cannabis from legal sources in 2021.
- Than ever before, with sales from brick-and-mortar retail stores surpassing online sales for the first time since legalization.
According to a survey of over 10,000 Canadian marijuana users over 16, 53% of respondents regularly purchased cannabis from a legal storefront, up from 41% last year.
Approximately 11% purchased marijuana from a legal online source, down from 13% in 2020. Illegal storefronts, illicit online shops, and dealers were the primary sources for 2% of respondents, down from 3% each last year.
The new data comes after regulators, and cannabis companies spent the years since recreational marijuana was legalized in 2018 lowering prices and opening more stores in an attempt to squeeze the illicit market.
They contended that increased access to cannabis stores and more attractive pricing would help legal channels compete with dealers and other illicit sources that offered low prices, delivery, and convenience.
While the Health Canada data suggests that the legal market is eroding the illicit market, cannabis industry observers have long observed that the stigma associated with marijuana use, as well as the fear of repercussions, discourages those who use illegal channels from responding to the survey.
Because respondents were reported that the survey was about cannabis, those who consume the substance were more likely to provide data; Health Canada warned that the results could be influenced by “participation bias.”
The survey conducted by Health Canada also provided insight into how the COVID-19 pandemic is affecting marijuana use.
When people who had used cannabis in the previous year were asked if their marijuana use had changed due to the pandemic, 49% said they had used the same amount, down from 56% in 2020.
Nearly 30% reported using more, up from 22% in 2020, and 22% reported using more petite, a figure that remained unchanged from the previous year.
The changes in cannabis use caused by the pandemic were most pronounced in younger age groups. About 25% of people aged 25 and up reported using more cannabis, compared to 46% of those aged 16 to 19 and 40% of those aged 20 to 24.