Some Marijuana Users in British Columbia Shun Licensed Retailers

Across the province, 24% of consumers say they have not acquired any cannabis at a licensed retailer.

Vancouver, BC [October 18, 2019] – A year after marijuana became legal in Canada, only a third of cannabis users in British Columbia are acquiring their product exclusively at licensed retailers, a new Research Co. poll has found.

In the online survey of a representative provincial sample, only 33% of British Columbians who have consumed marijuana since legalization say that “all” of their cannabis was acquired at a licensed retailer.

About one-in-five marijuana consumers in British Columbia (19%) say “most” of their cannabis was obtained at a licensed retailer, and 14% acknowledge that “some” of it was purchased this way.

One-in-four marijuana consumers in British Columbia (24%) say that “none” of the cannabis they have used since legalization has been acquired at a licensed retailer—including 37% of consumers aged 55 and over.

Across the province. 44% of residents say they consumed marijuana in Canada before it became legal, while 43% have never tried it. 

In April, only 6% of British Columbians said they had consumed marijuana only after it became legal,” says Mario Canseco, President of Research Co. “Now, the proportion has risen to 13%, including more than one-in-five residents aged 18-to-34 (22%).”

As was the case in a Research Co. survey conducted six months ago, more than three-in-five British Columbians (63%) agree with marijuana being legal in Canada, while 29% disagree.

British Columbians aged 18-to-34 (70%) and residents of Northern BC (67%) are more likely to endorse the legal status of marijuana.

When asked to review the decisions that the provincial government has taken to enable the legal sale of marijuana in British Columbia, four-in-five residents (81%) agree with prohibiting the use of marijuana on school properties and in vehicles.

Sizeable majorities of residents also agree with establishing 19 years as the legal age to purchase, sell or consume marijuana in the province (73%), restricting marijuana smoking to areas where tobacco smoking is allowed (74%), authorizing adults to grow up to four cannabis plants per household, as long as the plants are not visible from public spaces off the property, and home cultivation is banned in homes used as day-cares (60%), and establishing the Liquor Distribution Branch (LDB) as the wholesale distributor of non-medical marijuana in British Columbia (56%)

Two thirds of British Columbians (67%, +7 since April) think companies that operate in the province should be able to administer “drug tests” to any employee now that marijuana is legal.

More than seven-in-ten British Columbians disagree with legalizing ecstasy (72%), heroin (76%), powder cocaine (77%), crack cocaine (79%), methamphetamine or “crystal meth” (also 79%) and fentanyl (also 79%).


Results are based on an online study conducted from October 7 to October 10, 2019, among 800 adult British Columbians. The data has been statistically weighted according to Canadian census figures for age, gender and region in British Columbia. The margin of error — which measures sample variability — is plus or minus 3.5 percentage points, 19 times out of 20.

Find our full data set here and download the press release here. 

For more information on this poll, please contact:

Mario Canseco, President, Research Co.