Apparently, Canadians love weed. According to a new survey, the number of people who consume cannabis in Canada has risen steadily over the past 30 years or so. Now, as Canadian cannabis consumption doubles, the country must figure out how to finally make good on its promise to legalize weed in 2018.
More Canadians Smoke Weed Than Ever Before
Statistics Canada published the report. In it, the agency looked at a number of health surveys from 1985 through 2015 in an effort to identify trends in cannabis use. Who are the biggest consumers? Teens? Moms? Everyone in between?
Researchers found that in 1985, around 5.6 percent of Canadians 15 and older consumed weed. That number had more than doubled in 2015, climbing to as high as 12.3 percent.
Along with these numbers, the report highlighted other important trends. For example, although the surveys used in the new study included everyone 15 years old and up, cannabis use among young people has remained more or less stable.
More specifically, cannabis use among men aged 15 to 17 stayed the same between 2004 and 2015. During that same time, consumption actually dropped among women in the same age group.
Similarly, fewer people between the ages 18 and 24 smoked weed during those 11 years. It was adults 25 and older that drove the spikes in overall cannabis use.
It’s important to note that although weed still hasn’t been legalized in Canada, the years included in this report were marked by a growing acceptance of cannabis. This included a number of provinces and cities working to decriminalize and in some cases legalize weed.
But despite this growing acceptance of weed, there has not been a change in the numbers of teens who consume it. This could be important data since one of the arguments most often made by those who oppose legalization is that more lax weed laws will lead to skyrocketing use among young people.
As this report indicates—and as many other studies confirm—that myth is not true. Across the board, both in the U.S. and in Canada, the number of teens who consume cannabis remains stable, even as weed becomes legal in more and more locations.
Final Hit: Canadian Cannabis Consumption Doubles
The report comes as Canada continues working to legalize weed at the federal level. The country has talked about making it happen for years now. In fact, national legalization was a key talking point for Justin Trudeau during his campaign to become Prime Minister.
But so far, weed still isn’t legal. Last April, Canadian officials introduced Bill C-45, also known as The Cannabis Act, to Parliament. The bill received wide support from Liberals and Conservatives. Then in November 2017, the Canadian House of Commons voted overwhelmingly in support of Bill C-45.
From there, it looked like things were on pace to meet Trudeau’s deadline of full legalization by July 1, 2018. Unfortunately, things have since changed. Last week, Canada’s federal government announced that lawmakers will not vote on Bill C-45 until July 7.
Assuming the bill passes, officials estimate it will take another eight to 12 weeks after the vote to get recreational weed up and running. This new timeline looks as if the earliest Canadians can begin legally smoking weed is now somewhere around September.