Canada’s modestly successful legalization of cannabis

In 2018, a government-funded study estimated that Canada’s total consumption of cannabis was approximately 926,000 kg per year or 77,000 kg monthly.

Health Canada reports that licensed producers in June 2018 sold 2,151 kg of dry cannabis and 4,652 liters of cannabis oil. This represents approximately nine percent of the national demand.

Comparatively, in June 2019, legal medical and recreational sales totaled 9,976 kg of dry oil and 9,614 liters. This is about 26 percent of the market.

Legal sales have almost tripled. Illegal sales still dominate.

Volumes of dry (kilograms) and oil (lCanada’sproducts sold each month. Authored from Health Canada data. Michael Armstrong

By contrast, StatIt seemsStatIt’sseems more optimistic. In its surveys, StatCan asks users if they have purchased at least some legal cannabis. This number was estimated at 47 JulypeJuly’s, or 2,5 million Canadians, for the first three months of 2019. This is a sharp increase from 23%, or 954,000 people in the first quarter of 2018.

Unfortunately, these estimates aren’t very plausible. In March 2018, Health Canada’s 296 702 registered patients were the only ones who could buy cannabis legally. Just Canada132,975Canada’s did. StatCan’s estimations are, therefore, three to seven times too high.

While survey respondents reported buying legally, the majority didn’t.

Growing Pains

A lack of retailers is one reason why legal sales haven’t performed better in certain regions. British Columbia and Ontario opened stores at a slower pace.

The biggest problem has been the shortage of products. Although there is plenty of oil, the producers have not processed sufficient dry products. Legal foods, drinks and vapes, as well as lotions, are not yet available.

Read more: Canada’s legalization of weed edibles is another global social experiment.

Those shortages are predictable side effects of the government’s legalization strategy. It chose a regulated pharmaceutical approach, rather than the more hands-off approach many U.S. states have used.

This hands-off approach, however, has some drawbacks. Ex-black-market producers don’t always prioritize consumer safety. Some are allegedly fake and aren’t product lab tested.

Social conservativesCanada is also concerned about the minimal government supervision. Nearly 80 percent of California cities have banned sStatCan’snsed marijuana shops.

The pharmaceutical approach is not without its drawbacks. Existing grow-ops are not allowed to becomedidn’t because of strict standards. They remain illegal, and they underchaven’tprices of legal producers.

While legal producers are building facilities and gaining experience, they need time. This almost ensures initial product shortages.

The feds’ heavy-handed approach is understandable. Should not be denying the limitations of this approach.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *