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New Canadian Study Demonstrates Why Cannabis Regulation Works

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One of the main goals of legalizing cannabis commerce in any given jurisdiction is to battle the unregulated market in a meaningful way. When that topic comes up, it is always worth mentioning that the unregulated cannabis market will never be 100% eliminated, and that the goal is to mitigate it as much as possible by permitting regulated sales.

Canada remains the only country on earth where anyone of legal age can purchase cannabis products with no THC caps, regardless of their residency status. Uruguay also permits nationwide sales, however, sales are limited to residents only.

Researchers in Canada recently conducted a study to try to measure the effectiveness of permitting retail outlets, particularly as it pertained to surrounding areas. The results of the analysis add to a growing body of evidence demonstrating legalization’s success and the need for retail outlets in a legalization model. Below is more information about it via a news release from NORML:

Ottawa, Canada: Canadians are more likely to obtain cannabis products from the legal market if they live in close proximity to licensed retailers, according to data published in the Journal of Studies on Alcohol and Drugs.

Investigators with the Canadian Centre of Substance Use and Addictions in Ontario assessed cannabis use trends in a cohort of over 15,000 consumers. Respondents reported that they were least likely to obtain their cannabis from unregulated sources if they lived near a legal retailer. (Canada legalized cannabis sales to those ages 18 and older in 2018.)

The study’s authors concluded: “Legal cannabis stores are increasingly accessible to people living in Canada. … Household proximity to a legal cannabis store was associated with sourcing cannabis from legal retail stores. … Findings suggest that proximity to legal cannabis stores may aid uptake of the legal market.”

Since 2019, the percentage of Canadian consumers transitioning to the legal cannabis market has grown year over year. According to 2022 data, a majority of consumers (58 percent) say they obtain cannabis flowers from licensed retailers.

Full text of the study, “Proximity to legal cannabis stores in Canada and use of cannabis sources in the first three years of legalization, 2019-2021,” appears in theJournal of Studies on Alcohol and Drugs.