StatsCan: B.C. cannabis consumption second highest in Canada

Only Nova Scotia had a higher percentage of people reported to have used cannabis in the past three months

Lake Cowichan amends bylaws to control pot shops when marijuana is legalized this fall. (File Photo)

Lake Cowichan amends bylaws to control pot shops when marijuana is legalized this fall. (File Photo)

People are more likely to have consumed cannabis in the last three months if you’re from British Columbia or Nova Scotia.

And, according to Statistics Canada, about one in seven cannabis users with a driver’s licence reported driving within two hours of using.

“Males were nearly twice as likely as females to engage in this behaviour,” StatsCan reported Thursday.

“In the third quarter, 23% of residents in Nova Scotia and 20% in British Columbia reported using cannabis in the previous three months, above the estimates for the rest of Canada (other provinces combined). By contrast, Quebec (10%) was the only province where cannabis usage was lower than the rest of Canada during the previous three months.”

RELATED: POLL – Will legalization change your habits towards marijuana?

About two-thirds of casual cannabis users say they didn’t spend anything on the drug in the past three months, StatsCan said, in a finding chalked up to a sharing culture among marijuana users.

The latest round of data from the agency’s cannabis survey shows more than 650,000, or 14 per cent, of users spent between $251 and $500 in the last three months on cannabis, while three per cent spent more than $1,000.

The numbers paint the most detailed picture to date about Canadians spending habits on a drug that will be legalized in less than a week on Oct. 17, as the agency and others try to get a handle on the market and what it means for policy makers, companies and consumers.

Statistics Canada officials say they plan to pull point-of-sale information from legalized cannabis purchases to figure out how much people spend and its impact on the economy

READ MORE: Canada set to become largest country with legal pot sales

That will involve extending the use of scanner information to better measure consumer spending. As part of the agency’s modernization efforts, it is experimenting with a number of new ways to get information from Canadians without having to call them up at home, among other traditional collection methods.

Officials said Thursday that they are running a pilot project at borders to ping travellers’ mobile devices to get more details about tourism.

The national statistics office can compel any private company in the country to hand over data and plans to test the reach of its legislative authority by turning first to online platforms like Airbnb and Uber before asking foreign-based companies for access to their data holdings on Canadians.

Statistics Canada will launch national consultations next week as part of the agency’s centennial to learn more about the information needs of Canadians so that it can better tailor its programs, with cannabis being a prime example.

Trying to get a handle on cannabis statistics was no easy task when the agency decided to measure its usage and impacts. Statistics Canada has thus far relied on crowd-sourced data but that will change next week when stores, provinces and territories start supplying details about sales.

RELATED: WestJet bans some staff from off-duty cannabis use

The agency says about 4.6 million people over age 15, or about 15 per cent of that age group, reported using cannabis in the past three months, mirroring similar numbers from earlier this year.

About six per cent of users, nearly 1.8 million people, reported using cannabis either daily or almost every day, and three per cent, or almost 800,000 people, reported being weekly users.

Some of the agency’s work on spending and consumption were used as the basis for a report from the C.D. Howe Institute released Thursday that argues some users will continue to spend money in the illegal drug market that the Liberals want to quash through legalization.

The authors estimate the black market will be valued at $2.5 billion in the first year of legalization due to a mix of supply and availability issues in the legal market, shifting tactics in the illegal market, and no federal regulations for edibles. That would mean $800 million in lost tax revenues for Ottawa and the provinces.

You’re more likely to have consumed cannabis in the last three months if you’re from British Columbia or Nova Scotia.

RELATED: Canadian military issues guidelines for marijuana

And, according to Statistics Canada, about one in seven cannabis users with a driver’s licence reported driving within two hours of using

“Males were nearly twice as likely as females to engage in this behaviour,” StatsCan said.

In the third quarter, 23% of residents in Nova Scotia and 20% in British Columbia reported using cannabis in the previous three months, above the estimates for the rest of Canada (other provinces combined). By contrast, Quebec (10%) was the only province where cannabis usage was lower than the rest of Canada during the previous three months.

The rate of cannabis use continued to be higher among males (18%) than females (12%) in the third quarter. Use also decreased with age, as 27% of 15- to 24-year-olds reported cannabis consumption, more than double the rate for people aged 25 and older (13%).

Males were not only more likely to report using cannabis but also more likely to use it daily or almost daily.

– With files from the Canadian Press

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

The Nisga’a Valley Health Authority reported an isolated cluster of COVID-19 cases among non-direct care staff at the New Aiyansh Health Centre. (Gary Fiegehen/Nisga’a Lisims Government)
New Aiyansh Health Centre experiencing COVID-19 cluster among non-direct care staff

Nisga’a Valley Health Authority asking residents to cancel appointments outside the Nass Valley

A photo of the CervixCheck at-home test kit, developed by Eve Medical. (Submitted Photo/Katina Pollard, Métis Nation British Columbia)
Pilot project puts cancer screening into the hands of northwest B.C. women

Métis women experience barriers to cervical cancer screening

Brett Alexander Jones is wanted on several warrants province-wide, in connection with multiple charges. Jan. 21, 2021. Kitimat RCMP photo
Kitimat RCMP searching for man wanted on several warrants province-wide

Jones is described as a five-foot 10-inches Caucasian man, with blond hair and blue eyes.

The Nisga’a Lisims Government has extended its state of local emergency. (File photo)
Nisga’a state of local emergency extended, vaccines delayed

There are 21 active COVID-19 cases in the Nisga’a Valley Health Authority

Businesses continue to struggle under COVID-19 restrictions as the pandemic reaches the one-year mark. (B.C. government)
Another 564 COVID-19 cases, mass vaccine plan coming Friday

15 more deaths, community cluster declared in Williams Lake

A specialized RCMP team is investigating a suspicious trailer, which might have connections to the illicit drug trade, found abandoned outside a Cache Creek motel. (Photo credit: <em>Journal</em> files)
Police probe U-Haul trailer linked to illicit drugs left outside Cache Creek motel

Hazardous materials found inside believed to be consistent with the production of illicit drugs

Premier John Horgan leaves the podium following his first press conference of the year as he comments on various questions from the media in the Press Gallery at B.C. Legislature in Victoria, B.C., on Monday, January 13, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Chad Hipolito
Interprovincial travel restrictions a no-go, Horgan says after reviewing legal options

The B.C. NDP government sought legal advice as concerns of travel continue

Gem Lake Top, at Big White Ski Resort, seen at Jan. 8. (Big White Ski Resort)
Big White cancels $7.3M in lift tickets, accommodations due to COVID-19 orders

Since November, the ski resort has been forced to make several changes

Darlene Curylo scratched a $3M ticket, BCLC’s largest ever scratch and win prize. (BCLC)
Kelowna woman in shock after winning BCLC’s largest-ever instant-ticket prize

Darlene Curylo couldn’t believe her eyes when she saw the amount of money she’d won from a scratch ticket

While each person has different reasons for becoming homeless, a UBCO study shows they learn through their interactions with different services to perform ‘as homeless’ based on the expectations of service providers. (Contributed)
Kelowna homeless forced to ‘perform’ for resources, says UBCO study

One participant in the study said ‘It is about looking homeless, but not too homeless’

Gov. Gen. Julie Payette takes the royal salute from the Guard of Honour as she makes her way deliver the the throne speech, Wednesday, September 23, 2020 in Ottawa. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Fred Chartrand
Gov. Gen. Julie Payette resigns, apologizes for ‘tensions’ at Rideau Hall

Payette, who is the Queen’s representative in Canada, has been the governor general since 2017

Grounded WestJet Boeing 737 Max aircraft are shown at the airline’s facilities in Calgary, Alta., Tuesday, May 7, 2019. WestJet will operate the first commercial Boeing 737 Max flight in Canada today since the aircraft was grounded in 2019 following two deadly crashes. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jeff McIntosh
Passengers unfazed as WestJet returns Boeing 737 Max to service on Vancouver flight

After a lengthy review process, Transport Canada cleared the plane to return to Canadian airspace

The top part of the fossil burrow, seen from the side, with feathery lines from the disturbance of the soil – thought to be caused by the worm pulling prey into the burrow. (Paleoenvironntal Sediment Laboratory/National Taiwan University)
PHOTOS: SFU researchers find evidence of ‘giant’ predatory worms on ocean floor

Fossils found the prove the existence of an ancient Taiwanese worm as long as two metres

Most Read