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Survey: 63 Percent of Canadian Weed Smokers Will Turn to Legal Vendors

A new survey among Canadians who consume weed show that most of them will transition over to the legal market once it’s up and running.

A.J. Herrington

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Survey: 63 Percent of Canadian Weed Smokers Will Turn to Legal Vendors
Sonya Yruel/Drug Policy Alliance

A new survey finds that 63 percent of Canadian weed smokers will turn to legal vendors once cannabis is legalized. Pending a final vote by the Senate this week, pot should be legal in Canada later this summer. The provinces and territories are now in the process of creating regulations for their jurisdictions.

Accounting firm Deloitte commissioned consumer research company Asking Canadians to conduct the survey. The online questionnaire sought the opinions of 1,500 Canadians during the period of March 6-20.

In a report about the survey, Deloitte concludes that the Canadian economy will benefit after legalization occurs.

“What is certain is that legalization will open the doors to a dynamic and sophisticated industry that will create new jobs, new opportunities for businesses and new revenue for the government,” Deloitte wrote.

Legal recreational and medicinal marijuana is expected to generate sales of more than five billion Canadian dollars in 2019. Mark Whitmore of Deloitte said that Canada is poised to lead an international economic boom in cannabis.

“Canada is in a unique position as the first G7 country on the cusp of legalizing recreational cannabis,” said Whitmore. “The move to legalize recreational cannabis has sparked a wave of innovation and entrepreneurship, similar to Canada’s technology sector, which will create jobs for Canadians, new opportunities for businesses and revenues for governments.”

Current Users Open to a Regulated Market

The survey also found that if rolled out properly, a legal cannabis market will attract current users.

“Legalization alone won’t persuade most current cannabis consumers to completely abandon their existing suppliers,” the report says. “But our research suggests the right mix of quality, price, and safety could just do the trick. Executed well, legalization will also help shift a considerable proportion of cannabis consumption to legal channels in the years to come.”

Not all current users plan to switch to the newly legal market. However, factors including marketing and retailing basics will help lure consumers away from the black market.

“Whether they sell at bricks-and-mortar stores or online, cannabis retailers will soon discover that retailing fundamentals matter as much to them as they do to those in traditional sectors. Knowledgeable staff, clear pricing, convenience, customer experience, product choice, and product and location safety will all play a key role in their success. Those who get the essentials right could secure a strong competitive advantage,” Deloitte writes in a summary of the report.

Respondents also cited the safety and variety of products as issues that make legal pot more attractive.

Price Is an Issue

As is the case with most consumer products, price will also be an issue with legal cannabis.

“Being responsive to consumers’ price sensitivities is essential if producers, manufacturers, and retailers are to be successful — and if governments are going to persuade a rising number of Canadians to purchase through legal retailers,” the report concludes.

The survey found that illegal cannabis currently sells for an average of CA$8.24 per gram. However, consumers are willing to pay a little more, up to $8.98 per gram, for legal pot.

Do Canadians Plan to Smoke More Legal Weed?

Frequent cannabis users reported that they would probably purchase about 22 percent more. They expect to spend about the same amount, almost $100 per month. However, infrequent users say they might toke up more often. They expect their purchases to jump 121 percent, spending 70 percent more, or $28 a month.

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