There is a difference in pricing and convenience when it comes to purchasing cannabis from illegal sources and legal ones and it turns out that illegal sources are better in both terms and this could drive moe and more consumers towards illegal means of acquiring cannabis, says a new study.
Cannabis is now legal in Canada and many U.S. states, and despite this the illegal market still exists and in many cases it is thriving and according to a new study in the Journal of Studies on Alcohol and Drugs higher pricing and inconvenience associated with legal sources may be barriers that encourage consumers to seek out illegal providers instead.
Researchers at the University of Waterloo in Ontario looked at data from the 2019 and 2020 International Cannabis Policy Study, which collected data from 16- to 65-year-olds. Participants were asked how much of the marijuana they used in the past 12 months was purchased from legal or authorized sources. If someone entered a value of less than 100%, they were prompted to choose from a list of reasons for purchasing illegal cannabis.
Other possible reasons—such as low quality, the desire to stay anonymous, delivery speed, and loyalty to a dealer—were selected less frequently by respondents as being factors in choosing a purchase option.
Interestingly, COVID-19 restrictions may be behind some of the changes between the 2019 and 2020 survey responses. More than 10% of respondents in both the U.S. and Canada said the pandemic restricted their ability to buy legally in 2020. However, delivery service of legal cannabis became an option in several U.S. states and Canadian provinces during the pandemic, which may explain some of the decrease in respondents reporting slow delivery times and inconvenience.
A goal of nonmedical cannabis legalization has been to displace the illegal market, so the reasons why this goal hasn’t been completely met are important, and few studies have examined the potential disconnect.