Toronto Blazes Through More Than 140 Million Joints Annually

Understanding how people use and perceive cannabis consumption on the granular, neighborhood level can help shape responsive and effective policy.
After Cannabis, Canadian Government Won't Decriminalize Any Other Drugs
User: Mitch M./ Shutterstock

Let’s be clear from the outset. Canada has a reputation for consuming lots of cannabis. Tons of cannabis. More than 700 metric tons of cannabis by one count. As much as US$4.8 billion by another. It’s an impressive feat, one befitting the second nation on Earth to fully legalize the drug. But if you needed more data to prove it, let a survey of the smoking habits of Toronto residents paint a picture. There are all kinds of ways of visualizing just how much weed a city burns through in a year. But picturing it as a stack of joints reaching 3,720,750 feet into the sky is perhaps one of the more astonishing ways of doing it.

Survey Finds Toronto’s Smoking Habits Reach Impossible Heights

Canada is a large country, and of course, cannabis use is higher in its provinces’ large urban centers. But even in individual cities, cannabis use varies significantly across different locales and demographics.

The better gain a sense of the topography of cannabis consumption in Toronto, Environics Analytics conducted a survey of just under 5,000 city residents.

Environics specializes in analyzing how consumers use and perceive cannabis. They drill down into how those factors vary at the neighborhood level, mapping who consumes cannabis, where, how frequently and how much.

And their latest data, presented in a concise infographic format, offers some interesting insights on just how much cannabis Torontonians are smoking these days.

The survey asked participants to calculate their total cannabis consumption in terms of joints. So let’s say you get about ten joints out of an eighth of weed. That’s about 0.35 grams in every joint.

Multiplied by 141.7 million. Yes, Environics found that Toronto residents consume 141.7 million joints-worth of cannabis in a year.

To better illustrate that humungous number, Environics imagined it as a stack of joints, each about 8mm thick. And at those numbers, that equals the staggering height of 2,050 CN Towers—the icon of Toronto’s skyline.

More Fun Ways To Represent How Much Weed Toronto Blazes Through

But that’s just joints stacked width-wise on top of each other. Never mind end to end. Or even better, as a single rolled joint stretching toward the stars at 6,709.28 miles long.

If a joint is about 75 mm or three inches long on average, times 141.7 million, divided by twelve, divided by 5,280 (feet in a mile), you get that amazing number. The International Space Station only cruises above the earth at an altitude of 254 miles!

But Environics didn’t just capture survey data about how much cannabis Toronto blazes through in a year. They also produced some interesting findings of who’s smoking cannabis and how cannabis consumption is distributed across Toronto.

If you’re a young, “diverse” single in a high rise apartment, you smoke the most herb. If you’re an “upscale, urban Asian” family, you hardly smoke weed at all.

Cannabis use also happens to be concentrated in the city’s center, waterfront, and university areas. Exurb, residential neighborhoods tend to have lighter use. But looking at the map, there’s considerable variation, even on a block-by-block basis.

Here’s Why It Matters How Much Cannabis Toronto Consumes

Canada’s legal cannabis law will take effect on October 17, and provinces are still scrambling to make sure everything is in place by the deadline.

Data on cannabis use like the survey offers here can help officials and other policy-makers better understand the facts on cannabis use. And thus, one hopes, craft rules and regulations that respond to that reality, creating a legal cannabis program that works for everyone.

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