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.

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