Stats Canada survey shows 19 per cent of cannabis users buying exclusively from illegal sources

Roughly 42 per cent of Canadian cannabis users are still purchasing all or some of their product from illegal sources, according to the latest figures from Statistics Canada. -- Wikimedia Commons

Roughly 42 per cent of Canadian cannabis users are still occasionally buying the product from illegal sources, with 19 per cent of all users buying from illegal sources exclusively.

That’s according to the latest figures released by Statistics Canada in their second quarter National Cannabis Survey on Thursday.

The report also showed that eight per cent of all cannabis users are consuming product grown privately, along with cannabis from other sources. Around three per cent are consuming homegrown cannabis exclusively. Roughly one-quarter of Canadians who consumed cannabis did not pay for it.

Men are slightly more likely that women to consume cannabis purchased illegally.

Prince Albert Police Chief Jon Bergen said it’s difficult to say how many cannabis users in Prince Albert are still purchasing the product illegally. However, he said it’s definitely possible that some still are.

“If the illicit market is more affordable than lawful sales, then I suppose we’re still going to have a challenge in our policing,” Bergen said. “We do continue to investigate drug trafficking offences. It’s typically a focus of ours to pursue the drug traffickers, so we deal with the possession of illicit drugs, as we always have, but our focus in enforcement is definitely the trafficking.”

Regardless of where the cannabis comes from, men are far more likely than women to consume it. Roughly 21 per cent of men used cannabis in the first half of 2019, with only 12 per cent of women reporting any use. That gap holds true across all age groups except for seniors.

Men are also twice as likely to use cannabis daily, and more likely to use cannabis for non-medicinal reasons.

Roughly 16 per cent of Canadians aged 15 or old reported using cannabis in the past three months. That number is unchanged from what Stats Canada reported prior to legalization.

Nova Scotia (24 per cent) and Alberta (20 per cent) reported the highest percentage of cannabis users out of any Canadian province, while Quebec (10 per cent) reported the lowest.

Statistics Canada has conducted the National Cannabis Survey every three months since 2018. The goal is to monitor changes in cannabis-related behaviors during the period before and after legalization.