Recreational cannabis in Canada - statistics & facts

Following a similar trend in the United States, the legalization of recreational marijuana in Canada has become a hot topic in politics and in the public realm. Canada has provided legal access to medical marijuana since 1999, and the country established the legalization of cannabis for recreational purposes in all provinces as of October 2018. By doing so, Canada is the first G7 nation to legalize marijuana nationwide for recreational use, and the second nation in the world after Uruguay.

Marijuana is produced from the dried leaves and flowers of the hemp plant, Cannabis sativa. Cultivation of the hemp plant has become more widespread globally with the development of indoor technologies, therefore, it is no longer limited to growing in tropical climates. The primary active component of cannabis is delta-9-tetrahydro-cannabinol, more generally known as THC.

Currently, Canadians aged 18 years or older are able to buy marijuana for recreational purposes through government supported online sales. However, there has been talk among several Canadian politicians about raising the legal age of cannabis consumption from 18 to 21 years.

Consumer prices of recreational marijuana in Canada have gradually decreased annually to 7 Canadian dollars per gram in 2018. As of 2018, the province with the lowest average price for legal cannabis was Quebec. After legalization of recreational marijuana, about 7.4 percent of Canadians had used cannabis for non-medical purposes in the three months before December 2018.

The subject is not straight forward, and not everyone agrees with the legalization of non-medical marijuana in Canada, with differences in opinion recorded among age groups and genders . As of October 2018, 52 percent of Canadians approved of legalization, while 41 percent disapproved. There is also a debate on how cannabis should be regulated, if it should be treated more like alcohol or tobacco.

A bright future awaits recreational cannabis in Canada; the market size for top-shelf medical and non-medical dried marijuana is expected to reach 2.8 billion Canadian dollars by 2020 from 1.1 billion Canadian dollars in 2018.

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Recreational cannabis market in Canada

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