Canada Cannabis Spot Index (CCSI) 

Published November 8, 2019

*The provincial excise taxes vary. Cannabis Benchmarks estimates the population weighted average excise tax for Canada.

**CCSI is inclusive of the estimated Federal & Provincial cannabis excise taxes..

The CCSI was assessed at C$6.76 per gram this week, up 0.4% from last week’s C$6.74 per gram. This week’s price equates to US$2,329 per pound at the current exchange rate.

This week we review Canadian cannabis usage trends by province and age group. Statistics Canada conducts a survey on cannabis usage each quarter. The latest data provides details on Q3 2019 usage, which adds to the same data they have been tracking since Q1 2018. The exercise is a self-reported survey with no consideration of whether the cannabis consumed originated from the legal or the illicit market.

The current report shows that, overall, cannabis use continues to grow amongst Canadians. However, as the chart on the following page illustrates, consumption has not expanded at a uniform rate during the survey period, but has varied from quarter-to-quarter. The growth can be attributed to increased accessibility and the growing normalization of cannabis as a recreational drug. Based on the current survey, Statistics Canada estimates 5.2 million, or 17.1%, of citizens over the age of 15 use cannabis. The survey shows that 650,000 more people reported using cannabis in Q3 2019 than in Q3 2018, before recreational cannabis was legalized.  

Although the survey does not capture the source from which cannabis is purchased or the frequency of usage, it still provides important information about trends in consumption. The data shows that cannabis usage is lowest in Quebec, with only 11.5% of the province’s population partaking. Meanwhile, 26% of the population in the maritime provinces acknowledged using cannabis. 

Source: Cannabis Benchmarks, Statistics Canada

During the period from April 1 to September 30, approximately 580,000 people reported being first time cannabis consumers. The data also showed that senior citizens made up a disproportionately large segment of first-time cannabis users. 27% of new consumers identified by the survey in Q2 and Q3 are 65 years of age or older, while individuals aged 25 to 44 made up only 10% of new consumers during this period. Senior citizens are more likely to obtain cannabis from legal sources, adding to demand in the licensed system. However, most brands have to this point hesitated to market to this age group even as Canada’s recreational market grows. This is due to evidence that seniors consume less cannabis than other age groups and generally appear to be using products for therapeutic benefits, rather than recreation.

Source: Cannabis Benchmarks, Health Canada

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