Younger People Smoking More Cannabis Since Legalization


OTTAWA – Fewer people in Canada are using cannabis, but young cannabis consumers are using more during the pandemic. Retail sales have more than doubled. Demand is growing for different products.

These are some of the developments since the Cannabis Act passed four years ago, according to a new report from the Canadian Centre on Substance Use and Addiction (CCSA).

Cannabis Legalization: 2021-2022 Observations looks at the act’s impact and implementation across the country. Key findings include:

  • From 2020 to 2021, the overall percentage of people in Canada who reported using cannabis decreased slightly. Of those who already used cannabis, more youth than adults reported an increase in their use during the COVID-19 pandemic.
  • The legal retail cannabis market continues to grow as people turn from illegal to legal sources. Sales grew from $148 million in December 2019 to nearly $355 million in December 2021. Retail sales almost doubled in Ontario after the cap on the number of stores was lifted.
  • The growth of the legal retail cannabis market shows relative success in diversion from the illegal market, but it is still years away from stability.
  • Dried cannabis continues to dominate total sales, but demand is growing for other product formats, such as edibles and extracts.

“Continuing to monitor and learn from the evolution of the regulated cannabis market in Canada is essential to forming evidence-based policy, both here at home and around the world,” says CCSA CEO Rita Notarandrea. “Our new report will be helpful for policy makers, public health professionals and researchers involved in cannabis regulation.”

Cannabis Legalization: 2021-2022 Observations is the latest in CCSA’s suite of cannabis resources, including a Cannabis Use During Pregnancy and Breastfeeding public awareness poster and A Practical Guide to Assessing Cannabis Use, both of which focus on harm reduction techniques.

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