Study shows that 1 in 7 consumers grow cannabis

Published Jan 14, 2021 01:00 p.m. ET
iStock / pkripper503

Cannabis enthusiasts and medical patients have long dappled in cultivation, be it as a hobby or a more lucrative endeavor, but just how many are growing at any given time is a question that we’ve never quite been able to answer. We’ve had previous studies that indicated extravagantly low numbers, likely due to the fact that it was highly illegal to do so for the participants at the time of questioning, but now that society and the law have become more openly accepting of cannabis, users are far more willing to share this type of information honestly, which makes it the ideal time to do research.

The study

Right now, all Canadian residents who are of legal age have the ability to grow up to 4 plants, and the results of the Department of Health research revealed that approximately 15% of all consumers grow cannabis for personal consumption. The study, which was titled the Canadian Cannabis Survey 2020, questioned a total of 10 930 individuals nationwide in hopes of getting a better understanding of how legalization has impacted consumer behaviours like cultivation.

What this means

Most people know someone who grows a pot plant or two, but the estimate of 1 in 7 users is one that is shocking even for some of the most experienced consumers. Luckily, it doesn’t really mean anything for the average person, but it can have an impact on the market. If more enthusiasts choose to grow cannabis rather than paying for it, then there will be less money being spent in the legal cannabis industry, which could spell losses if the trend catches on.

Why that number is likely to grow

Legalization has been a thing in Canada for more than 2 years now, and yet still consumers are paying prices that aren’t much lower than those they faced while shopping on the black-market pre-legalization, all while dispensaries and producers report record losses. With such high costs, it makes sense for more people to take on the challenge of growing a pot plant or two to save money each year, especially when the startup is so low, and skill is barely required.

Between cheap seeds, lights, and legal protections, we’re already making it easier for consumers to grow cannabis, but that’s not all. Technology is making it far easier to care for these plants so that those who don’t have the time to fully dedicate to a grow can still pull off a successful yield each year. This removed much of the risk and hesitation surrounding cultivation, and it’s only going to get better from here.

Is this bad news for the cannabis industry?

These totals are catching the attention of those who are in the cannabis industry, because they impact things like projections for the coming years, as all green businesses need to be able to plan well in advance when it comes to meeting fluctuating demand so that they can be ready to supply everyone consistently with pot products while suffering the least amount of loss. But such a small fraction of the population growing at home isn’t going to be enough to spell the end for the legal market.

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