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Canadian Cannabis Statistics Update

Statistics Canada has released data from its latest National Cannabis Survey (NCS) that reveals use of the plant is certainly popular in the country.

Canada’s Cannabis Act became law in October last year and Statistics Canada has been monitoring consumption before and after the legislative change on a quarterly basis.

The latest report reveals from mid-May to mid-June this year, approximately 4.9 million or 16% of Canadians aged 15 and older reported using cannabis in the previous three months.

Of those, 332,700 reported using cannabis for a medical purpose with documentation, 811,600 for a medical purpose without documentation and 1,583,100 for both medical and non-medical purposes. The remainder, 2,363,200, were using cannabis for non-medical purposes only.

The survey report doesn’t go into much detail about medical use specifically, but states males are more likely to use cannabis for non-medical reasons than females.

Health Canada Medical Cannabis Statistics

The latest available information on medical cannabis in the country from Health Canada to the end of March 2019 reveals:

  • There were 354,538 medical client registrations with federally licensed sellers.
  • 30,883 people were registered with Health Canada for cultivation of cannabis for their own medical purposes at the end of March 2019.
  • 5,162 kilograms of dried cannabis and 14,730 litres of cannabis oil for medical purposes was sold between the beginning of January and the end of March.
  • 340 kilograms of dried cannabis and 195 litres of cannabis oil were exported for medical or scientific purposes during the same period.
  • During March, Health Canada processed 4,107 registration applications – well up on February’s 3,639.
  • The average authorized amount of dried cannabis for medical purposes associated with active registrations during March was 2.0 grams.

The amount of dried cannabis for medical purposes sold in March (1,698 kilograms) was well below the October 2018 figure (1,941 kilograms); likely as a result of the new laws introduced in mid-October legalising cannabis for recreational use; i.e. some medicinal users are likely sourcing from the recreational market.

Medical cannabis was also subjected to the same tax as that applied to recreational in October last year – a sore point for many patients. However, a 2019 budget measure saw a tax credit introduced for medical cannabis expenses incurred after October 16, 2018. Budget 2019 also made adjustments to excise duties for edible cannabis, extracts (including cannabis oils) and topicals. These are now subject to an excise duty at a flat rate based on the quantity of total tetrahydrocannabinol (THC).

Last September Health Canada was reported to have committed to continuing to operate the country’s medical cannabis system, but it will be reviewed within five years.

Terry Lassitenaz
Terry Lassitenaz writes exclusively for Hemp Gazette and has done so since the site launched in 2015. He has a special interest in the political arena relating to medical cannabis, particularly in Australia, and addressing the many myths surrounding this incredibly useful plant. You can contact Terry here.

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