Skip to content

What Has Changed Since Cannabis Was Legalized in Canada?

Just over three years in and the Cannabis landscape has gone through some interesting changes, some good and some surprising.
1-3 Product Guide what has changed since cannabis was legalized in Canada
What Has Changed Since Cannabis Was Legalized in Canada?

The Cannabis Act became law on October 17, 2018. There have been some changes to the 420 culture in Canada in the past years. There are some factors that may puzzle you and others that are understandable.

Where people are getting their cannabis

The roll out of legalizing cannabis did not go as smoothly as government officials would have liked. There were many mishaps including not having enough product for the shelves at legal cannabis stores. Québec did not get its first legal cannabis store until six months after the legalization. Many people stated that this did not affect them at the beginning as they were still able to purchase product illegally as they had before. Although it is not possible to show what the actual increase is for people now purchasing from a legal vendor versus purchasing from an illegal source, there has been an increase of those purchasing from official vendors. Some sources say that there is an increase of 40%-50% per cent now purchasing legal cannabis.

Who is using cannabis?

Although an increase of cannabis use after the legalization may not be surprising, there was a decrease in youth cannabis use in Canada. There was a reported decrease of nearly 10% from youth ages 15 to 17. There may be a few reasons for this such as not as many illegal distributors to access. Cannabis stores are following all of the rules and regulations such as ensuring that everyone has proper ID. Other factors may include that, becoming legal has taken the “cool” factor out. Canada also did a large cannabis campaign to educate the public about cannabis use.

Another surprise was that there has been no reported increase in cannabis use for ages 18 to 24. This was believed to be the highest risk group.

In 2020 what could you buy?

In late December 2019 more products became available for legal purchase. This includes fresh and dried cannabis flower buds, cannabis oils or capsules. Also available was seeds for cultivating your own cannabis, pre-rolled cannabis cigarettes and accessories. But the biggest change was selling cannabis edibles and extracts. Selling these products opened the market to many new users to safely try it for physical or emotional health reasons. Many users did not like the smell of marijuana but were willing to try new remedies in other forms.

Something to consider is that a majority of time that cannabis has been legal in Canada there has been a pandemic and many lockdowns around the country, so statistics may be affected by this. Another thing that has changed since the legalization of cannabis was the passing of Bill C-46 that established new federal laws around driving under the influence of cannabis and other drugs. So, remember to use cannabis safely and don’t drive under the influence.

CPC-logoThis story was made possible by our Community Partners Program. Thank you Revive Cannabis for helping to expand local news coverage in Alberta. Learn more.