StatsCan to get cannabis sales data
OTTAWA — About two-thirds of casual cannabis users say they didn’t spend a dime on the drug in the past three months, Statistics Canada reported Thursday as it provided the most detailed picture to date about Canadians spending habits ahead of legalization next week.
The latest round of data from the agency’s cannabis survey shows more than 650,000, or 14 per cent, of users spent between $251 and $500 in the last three months on cannabis. Seven per cent spent between $501 and $1,000, while three per cent spent more than $1,000.
Those who used the drug more often were more likely to pay more.
And those who spent nothing were likely the beneficiary of a sharing culture among cannabis users, Statistics Canada said.
The spending figures released days before cannabis is legalized will become even more detailed after Oct. 17 as the agency and others try to get a handle on the market and what it means for policy makers, companies, consumers and the economy.
Statistics Canada officials say they plan to pull point-of-sale information from legal cannabis purchases to figure out how much people spend, its impact on the economy and provide a way to capture what’s left of the black market.
Trying to get a handle on cannabis statistics has been no easy task.
Statistics Canada has relied on crowd-sourced data, but that will change next week when stores, provinces and territories start supplying details about sales.
The agency says about 4.6 million Canadians over age 15, or about 15 per cent of that age group, reported using cannabis in the past three months, mirroring similar numbers from earlier this year.
About six per cent of users, nearly 1.8 million people, reported using cannabis either daily or almost every day, and three per cent, or almost 800,000 people, reported being weekly users.
Some of the agency’s work on cannabis spending and consumption were used as part of a report released Thursday by the C.D. Howe Institute that argues some users will continue to spend money in the illegal drug market the Liberals hope to quash through legalization.
Statistics Canada will launch national consultations next week as part of the agency’s centennial to learn more about the information needs of Canadians so that it can better tailor its programs.