Pubdate: Sat, 10 Mar 2018
Source: National Post (Canada)
Copyright: 2018 Canwest Publishing Inc.
Author: Mark Rendell
Page: FP11


Canadians are paying just under $7 a gram for marijuana, on average,
according to new data crowdsourced by Statistics Canada.

Between Jan 25 and Feb 28, StatCan received 17,139 voluntary reports,
submitted online, on how much people paid for cannabis. The data,
released Friday, found the national average price for a gram of
cannabis was $6.83, although price ranged widely depending on
location, quantity purchased and use.

Cannabis was reportedly cheapest in Quebec, coming in at $5.88 a gram
on average. It was most expensive in the Northwest Territories, where
people reported paying an average of $11.46 a gram. In most other
provinces, people paid slightly more than the national average, mostly
in the $7 range. Only in Quebec and New Brunswick were cannabis users
paying less than the national average.

Of the major cities, Torontonians reported paying the most, at $7.94 a
gram. The average price in Montreal was $6.24, while in Vancouver and
Calgary people were paying $7.62 and $7.09 respectively.

The crowdsourcing initiative is part of an effort by StatsCan to
arrive at a better sense of cannabis pricing ahead of recreational
legalization, which is expected this summer. Pricing is important
component of the government's hope of having a legal market eclipse
the existing black market.

In December, federal Finance Minister Bill Morneau said the government
was expecting legal cannabis to be sold at around $10 a gram, with a
$1 tax included. At the time, there were indications from Ontario
Finance Minister StatCan data released Friday found the national
average price for a gram of cannabis was $6.83. Charles Sousa that
that price could be lower than $10 to compete with the black market.

StatsCan cautioned against reading too much into the numbers, "because
the sample is self-selected and therefore subject to many kinds of
statistical bias."

"Results for the entire target population, consisting of all Canadians
who consumed cannabis during this five-week period, could be
significantly different," StatsCan noted.

The data did, however, point towards certain patterns in pricing.
Medical patients, for example, reported paying slightly higher prices,
with the average price of medical cannabis being reported at $7.21
compared to an average non-medical price of $6.78.

"Interestingly, more individuals reported consuming cannabis for
medical purposes without a document (26 per cent) - that is, illegally
- - than with a document (10 per cent)," the report noted.

Overall, around twothirds of the respondents reported using cannabis
for non-medical purposes, the majority of whom were using on a daily

"The individuals who reported daily use indicated that they consume an
estimated 28.0 grams of cannabis per month, about one gram per day.
Individuals who consume less than once per day indicated that they
consume 6.3 grams of cannabis per month," the report noted.

As would be expected, people paid less if they bought in bulk. Buyers
of individual grams paid an average of $8.36, as opposed to $5.48 for
a purchase of 28 grams.

Most of the people reporting also indicated that they believed they
were purchasing "high quality" cannabis. "Very few Canadians indicated
they were purchasing low quality cannabis. The results were consistent
from one province to another," StatsCan noted.

StatsCan plans to continue crowdsourcing pricing data, "so that we can
create a rich open set of data all Canadians will be able to use to
better understand the transition towards legalization."
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MAP posted-by: Matt