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Since its legalization, cannabis has been a hot topic across several industries. In the last year, we have published several blog posts discussing cannabis regulations and business disputes which have arisen in the cannabis industry. Last year, we reviewed the 2021 Canadian Cannabis Survey. As the 2022 Canadian Cannabis Survey was released on December 16, 2022, we compare the two years below and summarize some key data changes over the five years that the Canadian Cannabis Survey has been active.

What is the Canadian Cannabis Survey?

The Canadian Cannabis Survey has been conducted annually since 2017, which was one year before the Cannabis Act came into force. The Cannabis Act is the legislation that provides legal access to cannabis, and well as regulates its sale, production, and distribution. In addition to the federal Cannabis Act, there is also a web of provincial and municipal regulation that controls the cannabis industry.

The Canadian Cannabis Survey is intended to assess the impact of the Cannabis Act, and to examine Canadians attitudes toward cannabis, as well as patterns of cannabis usage. This includes gathering data about the quantity of cannabis consumed, where cannabis is purchased, the price of cannabis products, cannabis use for medical reasons, and issues related to public safety and cannabis use, such as impaired driving.

Key Themes of the 2022 Canadian Cannabis Survey

Health Canada’s summary of the 2022 Canadian Cannabis Survey presents six categories of results, which are:

  • Knowledge, attitudes, and opinions
  • Cannabis use and products used
  • Sources and purchasing
  • Driving and cannabis
  • Cannabis for medical purposes
  • 5-year comparison of survey data

Highlights from each category are provided below.

Knowledge, attitudes, and opinions on cannabis use: Canadians consider cannabis use to be more socially acceptable and less risky than tobacco and e-cigarettes

Canadians were asked about the social acceptability of cannabis use as compared to alcohol, tobacco, and e-cigarettes. The results demonstrated that alcohol is still considered the most socially acceptable of these options, with 62% of Canadians viewing it as socially acceptable for regular use, and 89% viewing alcohol as socially acceptable for occasional use.

Cannabis was considered more socially acceptable than tobacco and e-cigarettes. Social acceptability of eating or vaping cannabis for non-medical purposes also increased slightly (to 48% for regular use and 64% for occasional use for vaping and 52% for regular use and 69% for occasional use for eating), as compared to the 2021 survey. Opinions on smoking cannabis remained constant (51% for regular use and 69% for occasional use).

When asked about the perceived risks of alcohol, tobacco, e-cigarettes, and cannabis, Canadians view using tobacco and e-cigarettes as having the highest risk (moderate or great risk). The majority of Canadians do not perceive the occasional use of cannabis or alcohol as risky, believing that it carries no risk or slight risk. However, Canadians perceive the regular use of cannabis as moderate or greatly risky (75% for vaping, 74% for smoking, and 64% for eating). This is consistent with 2021, except that Canadians’ perceptions of the riskiness of eating cannabis decreased (from 89% to 64%).

Cannabis use and products used: Cannabis use is increasing but the smoking of cannabis is decreasing

Non-medical cannabis use for Canadians 16 and older increased from 2021, from 27% up from 25%.

In terms of how Canadians are using cannabis, fewer Canadians are smoking cannabis, with a decrease from 74% in 2021 to 70% in 2022. However, smoking cannabis is still the most common form of consumption. Eating cannabis was unchanged (52%), and the number of Canadians vaping cannabis increased (to 31% from 28% in 2021).

Sources and purchasing of non-medical cannabis: more Canadians are purchasing cannabis from legal storefronts

One of the largest changes between 2021 and 2021 was the percentage of Canadians who obtain their cannabis from a legal storefront. In 2022, 61% of Canadians reported purchasing cannabis from a legal storefront, versus 53% in 2021. 48% of Canadians reported always purchasing cannabis from a legal source, an increase from 43% in 2021.

Driving and non-medical cannabis: almost a quarter of cannabis users drive within 2 hours of using cannabis

Consistent with 2021 data, 23% of Canadians who used cannabis in the last 12 months reported that they had driven within 2 hours of using cannabis. Most (84%) reported that the reason why they did so was because they did not feel impaired. However, 82% of Canadians do believe that cannabis use negatively impacts driving ability.

Cannabis for medical purposes: fewer Canadians are using cannabis for medical purposes, but more are doing so supported by documentation from a healthcare professional

13% of Canadians reported using cannabis for medical purposes, which was a slight decrease from 2021 (where 14% of Canadians reported using cannabis for medical purposes). However, 27% of these reported that their medical use was supported by documentation from a healthcare professional, compared to 22% in 2021.

Most medical users of cannabis reported using cannabis daily (31%), which was unchanged from 2021.

5-year trends indicate more cannabis use overall, but less money spent each month on cannabis

Health Canada has published a summary comparing the data gathered by the Canadian Cannabis Survey over the last 5 years related to non-medical cannabis use. Some key trends and changes identified are:

  • Cannabis use by Canadians in the 12 months before the survey has increased from 22% in 2018 to 27% in 2022. In Ontario specifically, this has increased from 24% in 2018 to 29% in 2022.
  • Smoking cannabis has declined, though it remains the most popular method of cannabis consumption (70% in 2022), compared to 89% of use in 2018. Eating/drinking cannabis has increased from 42% in 2018 to 56% in 2022. Vaping has also increased from 33% in 2018 to 36% in 2021.
  • The perceived risk of smoking and vaping cannabis has increased from 2018 to 2022 (72% to 74% and 70% to 75%, respectively).
  • Average monthly spending on cannabis has decreased from $73 in 2018 to $65 in 2022.

Contact Mississauga Business Lawyers for Experienced Advice on Cannabis Business and Licensing Matters

Bader Law helps businesses navigate the complexities of the cannabis industry in Ontario. Our knowledgeable business lawyers assist clients in obtaining Retail Store Authorizations and ensuring ongoing compliance with the shifting changes in cannabis regulation. We create dynamic, creative legal solutions for cannabisand experienced operators. We also represent clients with corporate financing and information technology law, amongst other areas. Our firm proudly serves clients in Mississauga and throughout the Greater Toronto area. To schedule a consultation, call us at 289-652-9092 or reach out online.