Sask. has lowest provincial rate of cannabis consumption per capita: StatsCan

Statistics Canada has released information based on existing data about how much pot is produced and consumed across the country.

Agency says data is preliminary and based on health surveys

StatsCan says knowing about consumption habits can be helpful for governments when it comes to planning for distribution and taxation of legal pot. (David Donnelly/CBC)

Saskatchewan people consume 16 grams of cannabis each per year on average, according to Statistics Canada.

StatsCan released new region-specific information Monday about cannabis consumption and production across Canada. It included both the medical and illegal cannabis use. 

It says that in 2017, Saskatchewan had the lowest rate of any province at 16 grams per person per year. The national average was 21 grams. 

Only the Northwest Territories and Nunavut had lower rates than Saskatchewan. 

Supply and demand

Jim Tebrake, director general in charge of macro economic accounts with StatsCan, said most of the data came from health surveys, where Canadians are asked about the frequency of their drug use, including cannabis.

Tebrake said it's important for provincial governments to take note of consumption habits to better understand both the supply and demand for cannabis as legalization approaches.

"The extent to which supply can't meet demand means that there will most likely continue to be an illicit market," he said. 

Not a complete picture

The report notes the figures themselves are preliminary and based on assumptions like population growth.

Tebrake said gathering data on cannabis consumption is comparable to putting together pieces of a puzzle. He said some people who use cannabis illegally might not answer truthfully on a survey.

"Until it's been legalized and we understand who all the producers are and people are free to say, 'Yeah, I consume cannabis,' it's going to be a little bit difficult for us to give a point estimate," he said.

Back in January, StatsCanada reported on country-wide spending on cannabis. In an effort to find out how much Canadians pay for pot, the agency launched a crowd-sourcing initiative.

About the Author

Stephanie Taylor

Reporter, CBC Saskatchewan

Stephanie Taylor is a reporter based in Saskatchewan. Before joining CBC News in Regina, she covered municipal politics in her hometown of Winnipeg and in Halifax. Reach her at stephanie.taylor@cbc.ca

Comments

To encourage thoughtful and respectful conversations, first and last names will appear with each submission to CBC/Radio-Canada's online communities (except in children and youth-oriented communities). Pseudonyms will no longer be permitted.

By submitting a comment, you accept that CBC has the right to reproduce and publish that comment in whole or in part, in any manner CBC chooses. Please note that CBC does not endorse the opinions expressed in comments. Comments on this story are moderated according to our Submission Guidelines. Comments are welcome while open. We reserve the right to close comments at any time.