Unlicensed cannabis takes a hit, as more buy legal

Published on August 5, 2022 by oz. staff

Photo: Contributed
Fewer BC residents are getting their weed in Ziplock baggies.

More people are getting their supply from legal sources, according to a new BC government survey.

Nearly 25,000 BC residents participated in the survey. It found a “significant” decrease in the number of weed consumers who reported buying from an unlicensed store—from 56% in 2018 to 17% in 2021. Just over 70% of consumers say they bought from licensed retailers.

“This comprehensive report gives us important information directly from people in British Columbia on their opinions and habits surrounding cannabis use,” says Mike Farnworth, Minister of Public Safety and Solicitor General. “From how it may impact their daily lives to perceptions around cannabis use and driving, it’s important for us to know this information so we can support a strong cannabis sector in B.C., while continuing to keep public health and safety the cornerstone of our policies.”

The province’s 2021 BC Cannabis Use Survey follows up on an initial survey in 2018. It’s one of the first large-scale provincial studies assessing changes in cannabis behaviours and perceptions, says the government.

Results are representative of British Columbia’s population and provide information specific to each health authority and health service delivery area.

BC Stats has developed an online application that enables further exploration of the findings.

Some of the highlights:

• In 2021, 17% of people reported buying cannabis from a physical unlicensed store (down from 56% pre-legalization), and 9% bought from a dealer (down from 16% pre-legalization).

• There has been a decrease in self-reported driving after cannabis use since 2018 (from 28% to 15%).

• Since legalization, the prevalence of cannabis use in B.C. has increased four percentage points (from 28% to 32%).

• Ingestible methods of cannabis use (e.g., edibles, beverages, oils, tinctures) and vaping products have become more popular since legalization.

• Smoking dried flower has become less prevalent, although smoking is still the most popular method of use.