Article by Jane Gerster, Global News
One of the Canadian government’s chief aims in legalizing marijuana was to eliminate the black market.
And yet, one month after legalization came into effect on Oct. 17, a new Ipsos poll conducted on behalf of Global News reveals that of those who have purchased cannabis in the last month, 35 per cent went back to their pre-legalization sources. In other words, they skipped legal avenues in favour of their old dealer.
Whether that’s the beginning of a good or bad news trend depends on who you ask. At this early stage it’s “much ado about nothing,” says Jennifer McLeod Macey, vice-president with Ipsos. “It’s kind of like Y2K where we’re expecting this big change overnight and we haven’t seen it.”
So what can you expect to see moving forward? Legalization hasn’t exactly been a smooth road, from legal retailers turning away would-be buyers on Day 2 after running out of stock to delivery mishaps and critiques over pricing to concerns about Quebec’s plan to raise the legal age for smoking pot to 21, and medical marijuana shortages.
Legalization is a process not an act, says Allan Rewak, executive director with the Cannabis Council of Canada.
“We are competing against very well established, very robust and very wealthy illicit market places serving Canadians for almost a hundred years.”
Rewak is heartened by the Ipsos figures. Nearly three-quarters of the 2,402 Canadians surveyed said they had tried to purchase or did purchase cannabis after legalization. However, where they got it varied:
- 28 per cent used online, government-run websites
- 28 per cent used government-run stores
- 22 per cent visited licensed privately run stores
- 16 per cent shopped at a licensed privately run website
- 35 per cent just stuck with their old, non-government approved dealers