The number of cannabis users doubled, and more than half of first-time users were baby boomers.

How has legal pot changed your life? Has it, at all? As a country, legalization catalyzed some shifts that could end up being the start of trends that shape the industry in days to come.

Stat Canada recently released a bunch of stats on that shed insight into the five million Canadians who consumed cannabis in the first half of 2019. Some things have changed in a big way – namely, we saw double the number of pot users than we did in the first half of 2018, first-time users were much older than they were before, women want topicals and edibles, and a ton of Canadians still buy from illicit sources. What else? Here are a few key takeaways from the data.

New first time users doubled, half of them were babyboomers

two person sitting on bench facing body of water

In the first quarter of 2019, nearly 650,000 cannabis users reported trying cannabis for the first time in the past three months – which is nearly double what it was one year earlier when recreational pot wasn’t legal. First-time users in the post-legalization period also proved to be older – half were over over 45, while in the same period in 2018, this age group was only about one-third.

So, there was an overall increase in cannabis use in the period immediately following legalization, but certain things stayed the same – cannabis use continued to be higher among males (22%) than females (13%), and use also also stayed more common among 15 to 24-year-olds (30%) than people aged 25 and older (16%).

The number of people who used cannabis daily / monthly didn’t change

silhouette photo of man smoking outdoors

Comparisons with the first quarter of 2018 show that the number of people who reported using cannabis daily and monthly use stayed stable, but those who reported using it weekly increased (from 2% to 4%). Occasional use increased a bit too (from 4% to 6%). Legalization brought out more dabblers, but it appears most decided not to commit to regular, more long-term use.  

Daily or almost daily cannabis consumption was more common among 15-to-24 year-old Canadians (10%) than among those 25 and older (6%). Males were more likely than females to be daily or almost daily users (8% versus 5%).

Smoking was the most popular method of consumption, women more likely to try topicals and sublinguals

person holding brown glass bottle

About 77% of all users consumed dried cannabis (82% were male, 67% were female), while 26% consumed edibles. Others consumed it as liquid concentrates (20%), vape pens (19%), and hashish or kief (16%). Though, at 14%, females were almost three times more likely than males (5%) to have consumed cannabis as topicals or sublinguals.

Half of all users bought at least some pot illegally

person holding grey tongs and kush

48% of all cannabis consumers reported buying at least some of their cannabis from a legal source, such as a legally authorized retailer or an online licensed producer. 42% said that they bought at least some of their cannabis from illegal sources, like a dealer, while 37% said that they used cannabis that they got from, or shared among, friends and family. Only 29% of all current users got their cannabis exclusively from legal sources.

Price isn’t the top consideration when buying pot, apparently

green Cannabis on round gray scale

76% of Canadians who consumed cannabis in the first half of 2019 said quality and safety was an important consideration when buying it, while 42% primarily considered price (interesting – as the price of pot has risen more than 17% since it became legal for recreational use). Other factors that mattered to people when buying cannabis were accessibility, location and preferred potency.

If you haven’t tried it by now, you probably won’t end up trying it anytime soon 

Basically all Canadians who reported having never consumed cannabis indicated that they won’t use it in the next three months (99%). In contrast, most daily or almost daily (94%) and weekly (87%) users think they’ll continue to consume cannabis over the next three months and at a similar pace. Some things never change. Namely, those who love cannabis and don’t need to mess with a good thing.

Categories: CANNABIS