Lake Cowichan amends bylaws to control pot shops when marijuana is legalized this fall. (File Photo)

StatsCan: B.C. cannabis consumption second highest in Canada

Only Nova Scotia had a higher percentage of people reported to have used cannabis in the past three months

People are more likely to have consumed cannabis in the last three months if you’re from British Columbia or Nova Scotia.

And, according to Statistics Canada, about one in seven cannabis users with a driver’s licence reported driving within two hours of using.

“Males were nearly twice as likely as females to engage in this behaviour,” StatsCan reported Thursday.

“In the third quarter, 23% of residents in Nova Scotia and 20% in British Columbia reported using cannabis in the previous three months, above the estimates for the rest of Canada (other provinces combined). By contrast, Quebec (10%) was the only province where cannabis usage was lower than the rest of Canada during the previous three months.”

RELATED: POLL – Will legalization change your habits towards marijuana?

About two-thirds of casual cannabis users say they didn’t spend anything on the drug in the past three months, StatsCan said, in a finding chalked up to a sharing culture among marijuana users.

The latest round of data from the agency’s cannabis survey shows more than 650,000, or 14 per cent, of users spent between $251 and $500 in the last three months on cannabis, while three per cent spent more than $1,000.

The numbers paint the most detailed picture to date about Canadians spending habits on a drug that will be legalized in less than a week on Oct. 17, as the agency and others try to get a handle on the market and what it means for policy makers, companies and consumers.

Statistics Canada officials say they plan to pull point-of-sale information from legalized cannabis purchases to figure out how much people spend and its impact on the economy

READ MORE: Canada set to become largest country with legal pot sales

That will involve extending the use of scanner information to better measure consumer spending. As part of the agency’s modernization efforts, it is experimenting with a number of new ways to get information from Canadians without having to call them up at home, among other traditional collection methods.

Officials said Thursday that they are running a pilot project at borders to ping travellers’ mobile devices to get more details about tourism.

The national statistics office can compel any private company in the country to hand over data and plans to test the reach of its legislative authority by turning first to online platforms like Airbnb and Uber before asking foreign-based companies for access to their data holdings on Canadians.

Statistics Canada will launch national consultations next week as part of the agency’s centennial to learn more about the information needs of Canadians so that it can better tailor its programs, with cannabis being a prime example.

Trying to get a handle on cannabis statistics was no easy task when the agency decided to measure its usage and impacts. Statistics Canada has thus far relied on crowd-sourced data but that will change next week when stores, provinces and territories start supplying details about sales.

RELATED: WestJet bans some staff from off-duty cannabis use

The agency says about 4.6 million people over age 15, or about 15 per cent of that age group, reported using cannabis in the past three months, mirroring similar numbers from earlier this year.

About six per cent of users, nearly 1.8 million people, reported using cannabis either daily or almost every day, and three per cent, or almost 800,000 people, reported being weekly users.

Some of the agency’s work on spending and consumption were used as the basis for a report from the C.D. Howe Institute released Thursday that argues some users will continue to spend money in the illegal drug market that the Liberals want to quash through legalization.

The authors estimate the black market will be valued at $2.5 billion in the first year of legalization due to a mix of supply and availability issues in the legal market, shifting tactics in the illegal market, and no federal regulations for edibles. That would mean $800 million in lost tax revenues for Ottawa and the provinces.

You’re more likely to have consumed cannabis in the last three months if you’re from British Columbia or Nova Scotia.

RELATED: Canadian military issues guidelines for marijuana

And, according to Statistics Canada, about one in seven cannabis users with a driver’s licence reported driving within two hours of using

“Males were nearly twice as likely as females to engage in this behaviour,” StatsCan said.

In the third quarter, 23% of residents in Nova Scotia and 20% in British Columbia reported using cannabis in the previous three months, above the estimates for the rest of Canada (other provinces combined). By contrast, Quebec (10%) was the only province where cannabis usage was lower than the rest of Canada during the previous three months.

The rate of cannabis use continued to be higher among males (18%) than females (12%) in the third quarter. Use also decreased with age, as 27% of 15- to 24-year-olds reported cannabis consumption, more than double the rate for people aged 25 and older (13%).

Males were not only more likely to report using cannabis but also more likely to use it daily or almost daily.

– With files from the Canadian Press

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

Just Posted

PHOTOS: Alberta male team takes silver in Winter Games relay speed skating

Alberta was close behind Quebec in the team relay speed skating finals

Senior girls Lakers drown Eckville in exhibition game

H.J. Cody’s senior girls basketball team defeated the senior girls Aces 60-30 on Feb. 21

Alberta was crowned champions in Wheelchair Basketball at Canada Winter Games

Ontario won silver while Quebec took home the bronze medal

Sylvan Lake’s Megan Cressey misses Freestyle Skiing Big Air podium

Alberta’s Jake Sandstorm captured silver in the men Freestyle Skiing Big Air contest

Sylvan Lake fiddler says performing at Canada Games an amazing experience

Brianna Lizotte performed with three drummers during a segment of the Opening Ceremonies

National Energy Board approves Trans Mountain pipeline again

Next step includes cabinet voting on the controversial expansion

WATCH: Pet therapy brings calmness to Winter Games athletes

Canada Winter Games in Red Deer continue on until March 2nd

R. Kelly charged with 10 counts of sexual abuse

R&B star has been accused of sexual misconduct involving women and underage girls for years

Child advocacy centre raising funds through Dream Home Lottery

The child advocacy centre in Red Deer uses its resources to help kids all over Central Alberta

Trudeau tells Canadians to listen to clerk in SNC-Lavalin matter

Privy Council clerk Michael Wernick delivered a blunt assessment at the House of Commons justice

Mueller report looming, new attorney general in hot seat

Robert Mueller is required to produce a confidential report to pursue or decline prosecutions

B.C. woman shares story of abuse with church officials ahead of Vatican summit

Leona Huggins was the only Canadian in the gathering ahead of a historic summit at the Vatican

Why do zebras have stripes? Perhaps to dazzle away flies

Researchers from University of Bristol look into why zebras have stripes

Poll: More voters believe Canada doing worse under Trudeau government

22 per cent believed the country is doing better and 27 per cent said things are the same

Most Read