Pubdate: Sat, 20 Jan 2018
Source: Telegram, The (CN NF)
Copyright: 2018 The Telegram
Author: Don Mills
Page: B2


With the impending legalization of marijuana for personal use this
July, Corporate Research Associates' (CRA) research suggests the
majority of Atlantic Canadians are not likely to take advantage of
this new opportunity, at least not initially.

It has been interesting to track the change in opinion over time
regarding the legalization of marijuana for personal use.

While there has been widespread support among Atlantic-Canadians for
the use of marijuana for medicinal purposes for more than five years,
it has only been recently that a majority of those living in Atlantic
Canada support the legalization of marijuana for personal use.

That support, however, is not consistent across the region, with those
in Nova Scotia the most likely to support the legalization of
marijuana for personal use, and those in P.E.I. the least likely to do

One of the key questions, especially for government, is what impact
the legalization of marijuana will have on government revenues.

Our most recent research suggests the market for marijuana for
personal use may be considerably less than many might have otherwise

In Atlantic Canada, about one in five adults indicate either a
probable or a definite intention to purchase marijuana for personal
use, at least on an occasional basis, when it becomes legal.

However, discounting those intentions to provide a more accurate
assessment of actual purchase behaviour suggests the initial market
may be quite small, perhaps as low at 10 per cent of the consumer market.

If this were to be the case, government revenues would likely be much
lower than originally expected.

It should be noted that the stated purchase intentions may be somewhat
understated, given the possible reticence among some people to provide
an honest opinion while marijuana is still an illegal product.

These purchase intentions vary somewhat from province to province,
with those living in Newfoundland and Labrador (23 per cent) the most
likely to purchase marijuana for personal consumption, and those
living in P.E.I. (15 per cent) the least likely to do so.

In terms of demographics, the likelihood of purchasing marijuana for
personal use declines sharply with age, with those in the youngest age
group (18-34 years old) twice as likely to purchase marijuana for
personal use compared to those in the oldest age group (55 years or

Interestingly, men are considerably more likely to purchase marijuana
than are women. There are clearly other determinants that will affect
the personal consumption of marijuana, including the market price
relative to the dark market, the selection of products available and
the convenience of purchasing the product.

Indeed, the availability of this product in the market will be more
limited, generally speaking, than for alcoholic products, thus
limiting the revenue opportunity for governments.

At the same time, it is highly likely that the market for marijuana
will grow over time as the purchase and use of this product becomes
more normalized in Canadian society.

Based on some of our limited research, consumers actually prefer to
have pharmacies distribute marijuana, rather than the alternatives
chosen by the provincial governments in each of the four Atlantic provinces.

The use of pharmacies for the distribution of marijuana would
dramatically increase the availability of the product while ensuring
the strict regulation and control necessary for this type of product.

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Don Mills is chairman and CEO of Corporate Research Associates Inc.
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