Canada: Growing Percentage of Cannabis Consumers Transitioning to the Licit Marketplace

Waterloo, Canada: A growing number of Canadians who consume cannabis are obtaining it from the legal marketplace, according to data published in the journal Drug and Alcohol Dependence.

Investigators affiliated with the University of Waterloo, School of Public Health Sciences surveyed nearly 5,000 Canadian adults who acknowledged having purchased cannabis flowers within the past year.

Researchers reported that the percentage of consumers switching from the illicit market to the licit market increased from 2019 to 2020 and that the majority of respondents (58 percent) now acknowledge obtaining cannabis flowers from licensed retailers. The study’s authors attributed these changes in behavior to increases in retail availability and falling prices for cannabis products available in the legal marketplace. 

The findings are consistent with those of a 2021 study published in the journal Health Reports which found that nearly 70 percent of cannabis consumers reported obtaining cannabis from a legal source, up from 47 percent in 2019.

Canada initially legalized the retail sale of cannabis in October 2018.

Full text of the study, “Cannabis flower prices and transitions to legal sources after legalization in Canada, 2019-2020,” appears in Drug and Alcohol Dependence.