One in five Canadians report using cannabis after 2018 legalization

Statistics Canada notes increasing prevalence of weed consumption.

Some 6,410,300 Canadians used cannabis in 2019. Photo by Statistics Canada

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More Canadians have been using cannabis since recreational pot became legal in 2018.

A new report states that one in five people in the country reported consuming weed in the year following legalization.

That’s a total of 6,410,300 or close to 21 percent of the population, based on numbers released by Statistics Canada on Monday (December 20).

The figures were drawn from the 2019 Canadian Alcohol and Drugs Survey (CADS), which was conducted after cannabis was legalized on October 17, 2018.

Statistics Canada noted that results from 2019 CADS and the 2017 Canadian Tobacco, Alcohol and Drugs Survey demonstrate the rise.

In particular, cannabis use among Canadians aged 15 and older increased from 15 percent in 2017 to 21 percent in 2019.

The increase was noted for both men (from 19 percent to 23 percent) and women (from 11 percent to 19 percent).

The Statistics Canada report covered the broader subject of alcohol and drug use in the country in 2019.

Notably, the agency stated that alcohol “remained the most commonly used substance among Canadians”.

Data from the 2019 CADS showed that more than three in four Canadians (76 percent) reported having consumed alcoholic beverages in the past year.

This level was unchanged from 2017.

In addition, 14 percent of Canadians reported smoking cigarettes at the time of the 2019 survey, unchanged from 2017.   

Speaking about tobacco, Statistics Canada related that previous studies show an “association between tobacco consumption and an increased likelihood of using other types of substances, including cannabis”.

Results from the 2019 CADS indicate that the proportion of Canadians aged 15 and older who reported having used cannabis in the last 12 months was more than two times higher among cigarette smokers (41 percent) than among people who did not smoke cigarettes (17 percent).

Statistics Canada also noted an increase in cannabis consumption “even among people who did not currently smoke cigarettes”.

The agency stated that the probability of having consumed cannabis over the last 12 months was higher in 2019 (17 percent) than in 2017 (11 percent).

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