Friday 18 October 2019

A year of cannabis legalisation

Yesterday was the first anniversary of cannabis re-legalisation in Canada. I made a short video for VolteFace (see below) with a few thoughts about what needs to be done to wipe out the black market. My view hasn't really changed since I wrote this because the statistics haven't really changed. At the last count, two-thirds of recreational cannabis was still being bought on the black market thanks to the high price and lack of availability of legal product.

Speaking of statistics, the available data do not strongly show any increase in the number of Canadians consuming cannabis. In the first three quarters of 2018, the prevalence rate was 14%, 15.6% and 15.2% respectively.

In the last quarter of 2018, when cannabis was legalised, the rate was 15.4%. In the first quarter of 2019 it was 17.5%, and in the second quarter it was 16.1%. The confidence intervals of these estimates are about 1.5% either way. All figures relate to use in the last three months.

At most, legalisation has led to a one percentage point increase in use, mainly thanks to people aged over 55. Use amongst 15-24 year olds has certainly not gone up.

The lack of competition and availability is confirmed in this Reuters report which I worth reading if you're interested in the topic. It seems that the cannabis companies are losing money hand over fist at the moment.

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