Canada has clearly been a global cannabis industry leader since it first legalized medical use in 2001 a trend that has only grown as the country became the first G7 nation to regulate cannabis commerce for adults last year. The expansion of the Great White North’s international impact has not only coincided with its progressive policies, but also with a culture that has embraced cannabis into the mainstream. According to a new UN report, Canadians experienced a 40% increase in cannabis consumption from 2013 to 2017, even before the nation implemented full legalization. Contrary to Reefer Madness prohibitionists’ claims, acceptance by adults didn’t lead to more use by minors. Not surprisingly, British Columbia, where the International Cannabis Business Conference will return to this September 15-16, has the highest percentage of cannabis consumers in the nation.

The CBC covered the UN report:

The report says there was a 40 per cent increase in usage of the drug between 2013 and 2017, which it attributes to a decrease in the perception of risk around cannabis use and the national debate around legalization.

It says the increase in Canada during this time was more pronounced in adults aged 20 or older, while it declined among young people aged 19 or younger.

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At just over 23 per cent, more people in British Columbia used cannabis in 2017 than elsewhere in the country, while the report says Nova Scotia and Manitoba were also above the national average of 15 per cent.

As cannabis moves even more into the mainstream, we can expect for usage to continue to rise, potentially resulting in less alcohol consumption (one reason alcohol companies are joining the cannabis industry). While prohibitionists will continue their false claims that the “sky is falling,” it has been proven that adults can utilize cannabis, a safer choice than alcohol, and states and nations can still prosper. The increased acceptance and use of cannabis will only provide more opportunities for companies to find expand their customer base, but as advocates, we must remain vigilant about ensuring that products aren’t marketed towards minors, as young people’s brains are still developing and a backlash could lead to a rollback of the progressive policies that have advanced in recent years.

The International Cannabis Business Conference in Vancouver this September 15-16 is the premier event to learn the latest about the Canadian and global cannabis industries and to network with top investors and entrepreneurs. Purchase discounted, early bird tickets by August 21st to save.