A Majority of Canadians Buy Cannabis From Legal Sources

A recent survey conducted by a Toronto-based polling company, Pollara Strategic Insights, reveals that about two-thirds of cannabis consumers in Canada exclusively purchase from legal sources. This data, released on the fifth anniversary of Canada’s end of cannabis prohibition, indicates that the regulated industry might have a larger share of the market than previously estimated.

This development is promising for compliant businesses and may come as a surprise to some industry leaders who have attributed their challenges and losses in the legal market to competition from the black market.

The report also found growing acceptance of legal marijuana among the public since legalization in 2018. “Three-in-four Canadians express acceptance of cannabis legalization, with about half providing approval since 2020 and two-in-ten ambivalent since 2019.” the report stated. “Just a quarter (23%) currently disapprove – down from 34% in 2019.”

In Canada, 65% of Cannabis Buys Use Legal Sources

According to the Pollara data, 65% of respondents said they exclusively bought cannabis from legal channels, marking a 7%  increase since November 2022. In March 2021, Pollara’s findings indicated that only half of consumers sourced their marijuana exclusively from legal channels.

It’s worth noting that Pollara’s figures surpass those reported by Health Canada. The government agency’s annual survey suggests that roughly half of consumers “always” obtained cannabis from legal sources in the previous year – a notably lower figure than Pollara’s data.

In previous years, Pollarta data shows that 43% bought from legal sources in 2021 and just 37% in 2020. Accurately gauging the proportion of sales occurring within the legal market is crucial for estimating the revenue potential available to legal businesses.

Survey Highlights A Growing Trend

Furthermore, the Pollara survey highlights a noteworthy trend: individuals who used cannabis both before and after legalization are more likely to report a reduction in usage frequency compared to pre-legalization levels.

The survey encompassed 2,006 randomly selected adults and was conducted entirely online. While there is no assigned margin of error, surveys of this size typically carry margins of roughly plus or minus 2.2%.

The survey also discovered that 27% of Canadians reported cannabis use within the past year, a substantial increase from 11% in 2017. Health Canada’s data also diverges significantly on this point, suggesting that 22% of Canadians consumed cannabis in 2017, rising to 27% in 2022.

The survey also found that 10% of all adult Canadians report having only used cannabis since legalization. Dry bud remains the most popular way to use cannabis, followed by edibles.

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