Pubdate: Sat, 02 Dec 2017
Source: Winnipeg Free Press (CN MB)
Copyright: 2017 Winnipeg Free Press
Author: Solomon Israel
Page: A7


MORE than 21 per cent of adult Manitobans used cannabis in the past
year and another 21.1 per cent may try it after legalization, new data
from the Liquor and Gaming Authority of Manitoba suggests.

The figures come from an anonymous phone survey of 1,201 adults in
September. The alcohol and gambling regulator, whose mandate will
include marijuana, says its sample is "quasi-representative" of the
province's adult population. The survey found 55.2 per cent of
Manitobans have used cannabis, with 16 being the most common age of

The lifetime and current cannabis usage rates observed in the Manitoba
survey are "considerably higher" than rates observed in Statistics
Canada's 2015 Canadian tobacco, alcohol and drugs survey. The
regulator cautions, though, that "this does not mean that Manitobans
are using more cannabis than other Canadians."

"Rather, participants may be more truthful than they would have been
two years ago," the report says, citing research suggesting expected
legalization of cannabis in 2018 encourages people to be more honest
about consumption.

Nearly 63 per cent of respondents said they used cannabis to relax or
for fun, and slightly more than 28 per cent said they used it for
"various medical reasons." About 21 per cent said they used cannabis
for pain management, and nearly 14 per cent used it as a sleep aid.
About 12 per cent used marijuana "for social interactions."

On average, Manitoban cannabis users said they used 1.2 grams daily,
but the regulator noted "this average was driven up by a small number
of heavy medical users." (There were 3,598 Manitoba cannabis users
registered for Health Canada's legal medical cannabis program at the
end of June, about 1.8 per cent of the national total.)

"Approximately half a gram per day is the most frequently reported
quantity," the regulator writes.

Thirty-four per cent of cannabis-using respondents reported using it
four or more times a week, compared with nearly 12 per cent who used
it two to four times per week. Slightly more than 16 per cent said
they used cannabis between two and four times monthly, while nearly 38
per cent reported use on a monthly basis or less frequently.
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