Canadians Spent $5.7 Billion on Marijuana in 2017: Statistics

Posted by Sagar Satapathy on January 30, 2018.

A first of its kind report from Statistics Canada estimates that Canadian adults spent Can$5.7 billion (US$4.6 billion) on marijuana in 2017 – the majority of it for recreational purposes.

According to Statistics Canada released Thursday, about 4.9 million Canadians between the ages of 15 and 64 said they use cannabis. The largest buyers of cannabis in 2017 remained 25 to 44-year-olds.

An estimated 90 per cent of those billions of dollars spent last year were for recreational use, while only 10 per cent were backed by a doctor's prescription for medical reasons, the data said. 

The nearly Can$6 billion spent on marijuana in the country is quite less compared to the Can$22 billion that Canadians spent on alcohol in 2017, and Can$16 billion they spent on tobacco products during the year.

The federal statistics agency’s report says the overall average Canadians are paying per gram is Can$7.48. In British Columbia, the average is $6.98 per gram; in Ontario it’s Can $7.33 per gram.

Most of the cannabis consumed was produced in Canada, with only about Can$300 million worth of illegal marijuana smuggled into the country. Illegal sales of Canadian cannabis abroad were estimated to be worth around Can$1.2 billion, according to the data agency.

However, Statistics Canada warns that because so much of the current marijuana market operates outside the law, some of the findings in the report are based on assumptions, models and sparse data.

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau has touted recreational marijuana legalization as a means to reduce access to young people and to displace the illegal market.

Canada is expected to legalize marijuana for recreational purpose effective from July 1 this year, while medical marijuana was legalized in the country nearly two decades ago.

In the US, nine states have legalized marijuana for recreational purpose, but it remains illegal at the federal level.

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