Mike Farnworth, B.C.'s minister of public safety and solicitor general, says a new study shows that provincial pot smokers are becoming more responsible in their consumption habits.
An extensive 2021 survey of cannabis use shows about a two-thirds decrease in pot purchases from illegal, unlicensed brick-and-mortar stores since 2018, according to an August 2 ministry release.
As well, there has been an almost 50 percent reduction in self-reported driving after cannabis use, compared to results from an extensive 2018 survey designed to assist government analysis of the impact of the cannabis sector on B.C.'s health and economy after legalization.
Results also suggest that fewer and fewer consumers are buying from their friendly neighbourhood dealer.
The 2021 B.C. Cannabis Use Survey, with 25,000 B.C. residents participating, is a follow-up to an initial 2018 survey that was conducted to "monitor implementation of the legal cannabis framework and designed to provide insights into the impact of the cannabis sector on both public health and economic activities", the release said.
"This comprehensive report gives us important information directly from people in British Columbia on their opinions and habits surrounding cannabis use," Farnworth said in the bulletin. "From how it may impact their daily lives to perceptions around cannabis use and driving, it's important for us to know this information so we can support a strong cannabis sector in B.C., while continuing to keep public health and safety the cornerstone of our policies."
Among the information gleaned from the survey is the fact that the number of cannabis consumers who said they buy from unlicensed stores dropped from 56 percent back in 2018 to just 17 percent in 2021.
A full 71 percent of respondents in 2021 reported buying their pot supplies from licensed dealers.
The release noted that the survey results are representative of the province's population and its results will provide data that applies directly to the various health authorities and health-service delivery areas in B.C.
Some other highlights of the survey results are as follows: a decrease from 28 percent (in 2018) to 15 percent in respondents' self-reported driving after cannabis consumption; a decrease as well in pot purchases from dealers, down from 16 percent prelegalization to nine percent in 2021; cannabis edibles, oils, tinctures, and beverages have become more popular, as have vaping products; the smoking of dried cannabis flower, though still the most popular method of consumption, is less prevalent; and since legalization, the overall prevalence of pot usage in B.C. has increased by four percentage points, from 28 percent to 32 percent.