3. Perceptions of illegal and legal cannabis in Canada in the three years after cannabis legalization: Findings from the International Cannabis Policy Study
The legal cannabis market in Canada has advanced since legalization. Examining the perceptions of legal cannabis products is critically important to understanding why consumers may or may not be transitioning to the legal market, including the influence of price, safety, and anonymity.
Findings will be presented from three years of data post-legalization (2019-2021) from the International Cannabis Policy Study, a repeat cross-sectional study. The presentation will focus on respondents who had consumed cannabis in the past 12-months (n2019=5,069; n2020=5,011; n2021~5,000). Multinomial logistic regression models will be used to examine the association between perceptions of legal cannabis products and frequency of cannabis use, survey year, and socio-demographics.
The current presentation will provide a summary of transitions to the legal cannabis market based on sales and national survey data. Data will be presented on perceptions of cannabis obtained from legal sources (vs. illegal) in terms of perceived quality, price, safety of using, and safety of buying. Findings will examine the extent to which consumers are worried about government tracking their cannabis purchases. For each measure, provincial and national-level changes from 2019, 2020, and 2021 will be presented. Data will also be presented on the relationship between perceptions of legal cannabis and individual level factors, such as frequency of cannabis use.
Consumer perceptions are an important factor in the transition to legal markets, both as a reflection of changing retail access, and as an individual level predictor of purchasing behaviour. The Canadian experience offers important lessons to other jurisdictions.