October 18, 2023 – Five years after the legalization of cannabis across Canada on October 18, 2023, the public continue to largely accept legalization (72%), with 52% expressing outright approval, 20% ambivalent, and just 23% disapproving. These levels have remained steady since 2020. Notably, the current incidence of negative perceptions about cannabis is far below the more pessimistic public expectations held prior to legalization.
We now see 27% of Canadians reporting usage of cannabis in some form in the past 12 months – representing a 2-point increase from July 2022, a 9-point increase since March 2019 (five months after legalization), and a doubling of reported usage levels pre-legalization (+14 points). Although many Canadians feel that legalization has caused an increase in the number of cannabis users and usage frequency, this proportion is notably lower than the number of Canadians who expected such an increase prior to legalization.
Dry bud/flower remains the most frequently used format amongst past 12-month users, followed by edibles. However, when considering all formats used in the past 12 months – regardless of frequency – edibles are now slightly ahead of dry bud.
Eight-in-ten (82%) past 12-month users report buying legal, with two-thirds (65%) saying they only buy legal – a 7-point increase in legal buying since Nov 2022 and a 15-point increase since Mar 2021. One-in-ten (13%) report buying illegal – with 4% reporting that they buy illegal only, close to our Nov 2022 sounding.
Past 12-month users still tend to view legal prices as higher (36%) or the same (17%) as illegal prices, but perceptions of higher prices remain significantly lower than 2019-2021 and four-in-ten are currently unsure. For more details, see our report.