Study: Nearly 7.5 Million Canadians — 26% Of The Population — Consume Cannabis

CANADA:  Nearly 11.5 million Canadians, or 39% of adult-age Canadians have admitted they will be cannabis consumers if Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s legalization plans for 2018 come to bloom, and as a country, 57% of Canadians are supportive of the Prime Minister’s plan for changing the cannabis laws. This is according to a newly released market research survey that asked 5,000 Canadians (with person to person telephone calls) their views, acceptance and expected consumption of cannabis.

The Canadian Cannabis Report: What’s the Buzz? was created in partnership by cannabis marketing consultant Colin Firth and Oraclepoll Research Ltd. and represents one of the most comprehensive consumer market research study ever performed for the emerging cannabis sector.

The Canadian Cannabis Report: What’s The Buzz? is a valuable research tool created for industry stakeholders including licensed cannabis growers, license applicants, health care professionals, government officials, financial and legal service providers and law enforcement agencies to help plan and provide guidance for the road ahead.

These 11.5 million potential Canadian cannabis consumers far exceeds any previous projections and, when translated into the volume of cannabis needed to supply their demand, nearly doubles the expected mid-range amount predicted by the Parliamentary Budget Office in November 2016. At a modest baseline consumption level of only 8 grams/month this translates to over 1,000,000 kilograms per year which bodes well for the Health Canada licensed producers that are ramping up for a massive influx of adult age recreational cannabis consumers with the anticipated legalization in mid 2018.

“We recognized a significant lack of data for this emerging industry. To date, there has not been a study of this magnitude of the Canadian people’s thoughts of the cannabis industry — both on the medical and recreational fronts,” says survey co-creator Colin Firth. “We saw this not just as an opportunity to better understand the Canadian cannabis consumer, or Canadians as a whole, but to help ensure that as a country, we’re all prepared for 2018’s pending legalization. We’re convinced that this report is the single most important document to emerge in this industry since Bill C-45 was tabled.”

Other findings from the 60 page report include:

  • Currently, nearly 7.5 million Canadians or 26% of the population are admitted cannabis consumers.
  • 34% of Canadians claim they have a friend or family member that currently use recreational cannabis.
  • 78% of those surveyed are aware that medical marijuana can replace certain types of medication.
  • 24% of current and potential users will replace alcohol with cannabis.
  • 28% have an interest in cannabis edibles while 60% say they will choose smoking as their preferred method to consume cannabis
  • 77% of current and potential cannabis users said they will purchase cannabis from a licensed grower.
  • 63% of respondents favour the retail model for recreational cannabis purchases while 30% prefer online shopping.
  • 72% of Canadians believe that the federal government should pardon and eliminate previous and current convictions for simple cannabis possession.

Respondents were asked 75 questions and the data provides the most current and up to date information on the state of the cannabis industry in Canada. The Canadian Cannabis Report: What’s The Buzz? is a must-have report available for purchase by any cannabis industry stakeholders.

Canada Introduces Legislation To Legalize Marijuana

By Rob Gilles, Associated Press

CANADA:— Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s government introduced legislation Thursday to let adult possess up to 30 grams of marijuana in public — a measure that would make Canada the largest developed country to end a nationwide prohibition on recreational marijuana.

Trudeau has long promised to legalize recreational pot use and sales. U.S voters in California, Massachusetts, Maine and Nevada voted last year to approve the use of recreational marijuana, joining Colorado, Washington, Oregon and Alaska. The South American nation of Uruguay is the only nation to legalize recreational pot.

The proposed law allows four plants to be grown at home. Those under 18 found with less than five grams of marijuana would not face criminal charges but those who sell it or give to youth could face up to 14 years in jail.  “It’s too easy for our kids to get marijuana. We’re going to change that,” Trudeau said.

Officials said Canadians should be able to smoke marijuana legally by July 1, 2018. The legislation must still be approved by Parliament but with Trudeau’s Liberal party holding a majority its passage in considered assured.

The federal government set the age at 18, but is allowing each of Canada’s provinces to determine if it should be higher. The provinces will also decide how the drug will be distributed and sold. The law also defines the amount of THC in a driver’s blood, as detected by a roadside saliva test, that would be illegal. Marijuana taxes will be announced at a later date.

The Canadian government closely followed the advice of a marijuana task force headed by former Liberal Health Minister Anne McLellan. That panel’s report noted public health experts tend to favor a minimum age of 21 as the brain continues to develop to about 25, but said setting the minimum age too high would preserve the illicit market.  Canadian youth have higher rates of cannabis use than their peers worldwide.

“If your objective is to protect public health and safety and keep cannabis out of the hands of minors, and stop the flow of profits to organized crime, then the law as it stands today has been an abject failure,” Public Safety Minister Ralph Goodale told a news conference. “Police forces spend between $2 billion and $3 billion every year trying to deal with cannabis, and yet Canadian teenagers are among the heaviest users in the western world … We simply have to do better.”

Goodale said they’ve been close touch with the U.S. government on the proposed law and noted exporting and importing marijuana will continue to be illegal.  “The regime we are setting up in Canada will protect our kids better and stop the flow of illegal dollars to organized crime. Our system will actually be the better one,” Goodale said.

But Christina Grant, a professor of pediatrics at McMaster University in Ontario, worries the government is conveying the message that marijuana is not harmful. She fears usage will go up because concerns about its safety will dissipate.  “One in seven youths who have used cannabis will develop an addiction to cannabis and that impacts your life, schooling, job prospects, social and emotional relationships,” she said. “And there is the risk of developing psychosis if you start using cannabis as a teenager. The more you use and the younger you start, you have up to four times the risk of developing some kind of psychotic illness.”

Former Toronto Police Chief Bill Blair, who is the parliamentary secretary to the justice minister, said officials learned from the experiences from other jurisdictions like Colorado and Washington state.  While the government moves to legalize marijuana, retail outlets selling pot for recreational use have already been set up. Trudeau has emphasized current laws should be respected. Police in Toronto, Vancouver and other cities raided stores earlier last month and made arrests.

The news that Canada was soon going to announce the law was noticed online last month by Snoop Dogg , who tweeted “Oh Canada!” Canadian folk singer Pat Robitaille released a “Weed song” to coincide with the government’s announcement.

Justin Trudeau And The Cannabis Factory

CANADA: At a former Hershey’s chocolate factory just outside Ottawa a company called Tweed now produces a rather different confection: marijuana for Canada’s tightly regulated medical market. Under the gaze of surveillance cameras, scientists in lab coats concoct new cannabis-based blends in near-sterile conditions. A repurposed candy mixer does the blending. Only in the growing rooms does the spirit of Cheech and Chong, a stoned comedy duo, seem to preside: the plants have names like Black Widow, Deep Purple, Chem Dawg and Bubba Kush.

The market, though growing fast, is still tiny: just 30,000 registered patients buy their supplies from licensed firms like Tweed (short for therapeutic weed). Its parent company had sales of C$4.2m ($3.1m) in the six months that ended on September 30th. But the promise by Justin Trudeau, Canada’s new prime minister, to legalize marijuana could widen the customer base to well beyond the 3m Canadians thought to consume it now. The government’s first “speech from the throne” on December 4th named legalization as one of its priorities.

The existence of companies like Tweed, which obtained a stock market listing in 2014—long before Mr Trudeau, a tattooed former snowboarding instructor, looked likely to become prime minister—suggests that Canada’s transition from remedial to recreational pot will be smooth. It probably won’t be. “It’s going to be a lot harder to implement than you think,” said Lewis Koski, until recently the director of marijuana enforcement in Colorado, to a Canadian news agency.

Canada’s New Governing Party Promises To Legalize, Regulate Marijuana Sales

CANADA: Canada’s leap to the left in Monday’s elections could have the country singing a new anthem: “Oh, Cannabis.”

The United States’ largest trade partner overwhelmingly selected Justin Trudeau‘s Liberal Party to run Canada, a sweeping change that may lead to full marijuana legalization for our northern neighbor, which already allows medical pot use.

Trudeau promised that under his leadership Canada would create a system to tax, regulate and sell marijuana, along with stiff penalties for anyone giving pot to children or caught driving while stoned. The Liberal Party’s cannabis legalization statement echoes the language used by many U.S. legalization advocates.

Trudeau Voices Support For Regulated Marijuana Dispensaries

CANADA:  Liberal Leader Justin Trudeau says marijuana storefronts, like the one selling medical pot on Main Street in Winnipeg, should be allowed to operate.

At a Liberal campaign office just blocks away from the controversial shop, Trudeau reiterated his pledge to legalize marijuana if elected.

He says by licensing and restricting the sale, it keeps the drugs out of the hands of kids and criminals.

“We have to create an entire system that controls and regulates marijuana that will include medical marijuana and properly licensed dispensaries.  How we go about doing that will be deeply informed by the lessons learned by the United States and other places so we build the right model for Canada,” said Trudeau.

Ticketing For Marijuana Possession Still On Radar For Tories

CANADA:  With just 12 weeks left before Parliament shuts down for an election, the federal Conservative government is still considering introducing a bill to let police issue tickets to people caught with small amounts of marijuana, instead of laying criminal charges.

The potential legislative change is in the hands of Justice Minister Peter MacKay, who has spoken strongly about the dangers of marijuana use, particularly by young people.

The government has not made a final decision on the proposed change. As well, it isn’t clear – with time running short – if it would introduce a bill in the current Parliament, which ends in June, or make it a campaign promise in the fall election.

But what is significant, say Tories, is that the idea is still on the government’s “radar” as it prepares for re-election. It is looking for a marijuana proposal to contrast with the position of Liberal leader Justin Trudeau, who would legalize pot.

It’s The CMA, Not The Government, That’s ‘Politicizing’ The Marijuana Debate

CANADA:  The marijuana debate heated up again last week, when the Canadian Medical Association denied its support for a public service campaign that is to be launched by Health Canada warning of the dangers associated with use of the drug. Because there are conflicting views between the Conservatives and Liberals on the legalization question, the CMA said, it didn’t want to play politics.

This is more than a bit disingenuous: Warning of the dangers of marijuana usage, which is currently illegal, is actually no different that warning about the use of legal alcohol or tobacco, which Health Canada does with the CMA’s support. In other words: Regardless of whether marijuana is fully legal, decriminalized or fully criminal, the Health Canada public service campaign has nothing to do with the political issue.

In fact, one could argue that as Canada progresses toward some form of liberalized marijuana law, it’s a good thing that Health Canada is getting ahead of the game so that people who choose to use the drug are informed, as they are with tobacco and alcohol.

On the larger question of the legal status of marijuana, Justice Minister Peter McKay reiterated his interest in adopting the regime proposed by the police chiefs of Canada, namely that possession of small amounts be decriminalized and possibly treated under the Contraventions Act. Justin Trudeau and the Liberals continue to pledge that if elected they will legalize the drug entirely for recreational use.

William Watson: A Look at Canada’s Marijuana Market After Legalization (Opinion)

CANADA: The Boards may engage in advertising campaigns, sending out glossy magazines informing consumers which types of marijuana go best with which types of food, wine and munchies.

So. what will the marijuana market look like after Prime Minister Justin Trudeau legalizes the drug in 2018? [Read more…]