A Statistics Canada analysis has determined legal cannabis costs a heckuva lot more than the illegal alternative.
Stats Can analysed 385 “plausible” price quotes from Oct. 17 to Dec. 31, 2018, with the average price being $8.02 – 17.4 per cent higher than pre-legalization price estimates.
“A breakdown of the 385 price quotes shows that roughly half of the individuals purchased cannabis from a legal supplier,” Stats Can noted in a release. “From Oct.17 to Dec. 31, the average price paid for dried cannabis from legal suppliers ($9.70) was higher than the price paid for dried cannabis purchased from illegal suppliers ($6.51).”
Stats Can determined that the average quantity purchased from legal suppliers was 8.3 grams.
Prior to legalization, Statistics Canada updated the StatsCannabis crowdsourcing application to try and capture changes in consumer behaviours due to the new legalized status of cannabis for non-medical use.
These updates included new questions related to the source of supply (legal or illegal) and first-time use. These new questions were in addition to the original questions related to price, location, consumption, quality and quantity purchased.
“Respondents to StatsCannabis indicated they purchased an average of 4.7 grams when buying at a retail outlet and an average of 9.1 grams when purchasing via mail delivery,” a release notes. “The average quantity purchased from illegal suppliers was 17.2 grams, more than double the amount of cannabis purchased through legal methods.”
The data also indicated that males are more likely to purchase cannabis from a legal supplier than females, with 49.8 per cent of males purchasing from legal producers compared with 41.6 per cent of females.
Males were also found to purchase in larger quantities from both legal and illegal sources, however, for both females and males, the average quantity purchased was much higher for those who purchased from illegal sources than legal sources. But, Stats Can warns that because of the small sample size, users should “exercise caution when interpreting the data.”
Stats Can noted that 23 of 300 respondents (7.7 per cent) reported purchasing cannabis for the first time. Of those first-time buyers, 14 bought from legal sources.
The survey found that first-time-consumers paid, on average, higher prices than existing consumers. Overall, 17 of the 23 respondents answered that they have begun consuming cannabis because it is now legal.