Killing the black market was one of Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s aims with the legalization of cannabis.
Ten months after legalization, almost half of Canadians still purchase their weed illegally.
According to a National Cannabis Survey conducted by Statistics Canada, 42% of marijuana buyers say they purchase their bud from a dealer. Or, more professionally, an unlicensed sales associate.
The country’s rickety roll-out of legal cannabis shops is mostly to blame for consumers keeping their money on the streets. Many prospective vendors are tied up in bureaucracy while the ones that did manage to secure licenses struggle to meet consumer demand.
Furthermore, weed on the street remains cheaper than what you’d typically find in a bougie boutique. In July, the difference between street sess and government-sanctioned herb was about $5 per gram. That’s not insignificant: 42% of those surveyed say price as a main factor when deciding to purchase cannabis (76% say quality and safety is their primary metric).
Nevertheless, the black market is shrinking. In Q4 of last year, 79% of marijuana transactions were conducted on the black market. What remains the same is the number of Canadians using cannabis. In Q2 of 2019, 16% of those aged 15 and older reported marijuana use in the previous three months – the same percentage as one year ago.