Stats Can releases new study estimating cannabis consumption ahead of legalization

The study surveyed research conducted between 1960 and 2015

Earlier today Statistics Canada released a new Economic Insights study titled “Experimental Estimates of Cannabis Consumption in Canada, 1960 to 2015.” It describes “how multiple existing data sources collected for other purposes may be used to estimate cannabis consumer activity.”

The study attempts to amalgamate various types of data from numerous previous studies conducted between 1960 and 2015 in order to compile an accurate analysis of consumption trends in Canada to determine an estimate of consumption volumes ahead of legalization.

According to today’s release:

“The study presents experimental volume estimates along with corresponding estimates for the number of consumers. Using this approach, there were an estimated 4.9 million cannabis consumers aged 15 and older in 2015, including both medical and non-medical use. The study then estimates cannabis consumption by multiplying the number of consumers by assumptions for the number of days of consumption per person and by the number of grams consumed per day.”

Ultimately, the study finds that, assuming a standard price in the range of  $7.14 to $8.84 per gram, the size of the cannabis market in canada post legalization will be worth between 5 and 6.2 billion dollars per year.

Interestingly, while the study found that total volume of cannabis consumed per year has been steadily rising, this seems to correlate with an increase in the average age of cannabis users over time, finding that “in the 1960s and 1970s, the cannabis market was predominantly youth driven. However, by 2015, just under 6% of estimated cannabis consumers are estimated to be in the 15 to 17 year old age group, while two-thirds of cannabis consumers are over the age of 25.”

When considering these data, it’s important to note that there were several difficulties faced by researchers in getting all of the various forms and sources of data and data collection techniques to line up in any meaningful way. For instance, the authors note that earlier studies were often conducted on school campuses, which inherently skewed the results toward a younger age group.

Today’s release warns that “the experimental estimates for consumers and the volume of consumption make use of multiple data sources that do not always perfectly accord, and which were not collected for the purpose of estimating the volume of consumption.” Because of this, it is important to note that “the cumulative uncertainty is sufficiently large that estimates may be roughly doubled or halved and remain within the possible bounds of the model.”

Today’s public release can be found here.

The full paper can be found here.

Featured image by Chuck Grimmett.

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1 comment

  1. Maxcatski Reply

    You can double that estimate and it will still be low. I believe there are ten million cannabis consumers in Canada today. And you can count on another five million after legalization.

    Everybody loves cannabis!