By Emily Ledger
Ever since the Canadian federal government legalised recreational cannabis towards the end of 2018, the new system has faced criticism as Canadians have continued to purchase cannabis products from illicit sources. However, a recent survey reveals that this may be changing as people in British Columbia appear to be increasingly turning to legal cannabis.
Frameworks for a legal cannabis industry has now been established in Canada for over a year and a half. Each provincial government was given control of localised laws linked to the new sector, including age limit and licensing. Nevertheless, the country is largely aligned on key guidelines for the sale and consumption of cannabis.
Multiple surveys across the country have demonstrated a general agreement with the decision to legalise the drug. For example, an October 2019 survey conducted by Research Co. found that 64% of British Columbians agreed with legalisation, compared with 29% that disagreed. A more recent survey revealed that approval for the new sector has remained strong and even increased (70%).
Despite high approvals, however, previous studies consistently revealed that Canadians were continuing to source their cannabis products from illegal suppliers. This trend has been widely attributed to delays in store openings and a lack of product diversity. For example, cannabis edibles and topicals were not legalised in Canada until October 2019 (referred to as Cannabis 2.0) – a year after the initial law change.
The introduction of edibles and topicals appears to have bolstered the legal market. Research Co’s most recent survey revealed that 51% of British Columbians who have consumed cannabis since legalsiation reported that all of their product was sourced from legal suppliers. This is up from 39% in the October survey.
This is good news for policymakers, who have faced some criticism since legalisation took hold in 2018. However, the survey also reports that 16% of consumers in British Columbia didn’t source any of their cannabis from legal suppliers.