On Nov. 21, 2017, Statistics Canada announced that it is preparing the country’s statistical system to capture economic and social data on the use of recreational cannabis.
Even though recreational legalization won’t be a reality in Canada until July 1, 2018, Statistics Canada is preparing to begin its study now because it wants to have a before and after picture of recreational cannabis production, sales and use to understand the larger implications of legalizing recreational cannabis in the country.
“It is incumbent upon the agency to try to measure the production, sale and use pre-legalization—despite the obvious difficulties of doing so—as well as post-legalization to provide Canadians, governments and businesses with as clear a picture as possible of the economic and social consequences of the legalization,” the agency explained in its announcement.
As a means of relaying the nature of its study, Statistics Canada released a paper titled, “A cannabis economic account — The framework,” addressing how the agency will gather data on output, consumption and distribution of medical and non-medical cannabis in the country.
According to the paper, “The data that will be released as part of the cannabis economic account should be considered as experimental in nature and will be revised as more information is made available over the coming years. While the estimates cannot be considered precise, they will provide users with lower and upper bounds between which the cannabis ‘sub-economy’ can be placed within the context of the overall Canadian economy.”
Following the enactment of recreational legalization, Statistics Canada will be able improve its statistical infrastructure for capturing data on recreational cannabis as it will be able to use reliable statistics from the newly legalized market, increasing the quality of its estimates and providing a more accurate picture of the country’s recreational cannabis economy to Canadian citizens, businesses and governments.