Sask. has lowest provincial rate of cannabis consumption per capita: StatsCan
Agency says data is preliminary and based on health surveys
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.