The better the question. The better the answer. The better the world works. У вас есть вопрос? У нас есть ответ. Решая сложные задачи бизнеса, мы улучшаем мир. У вас є запитання? У нас є відповідь. Вирішуючи складні завдання бізнесу, ми змінюємо світ на краще. Meilleure la question, meilleure la réponse. Pour un monde meilleur. 問題越好。答案越好。商業世界越美好。 问题越好。答案越好。商业世界越美好。

As 2.0 opportunities emerge, can you still compete with 1.0 strategies?

Canadian cannabis consumer insights for legalization 2.0

On 17 October 2018, the Cannabis Act and supporting Cannabis Regulations came into effect in Canada, legalizing the recreational use of cannabis federally.

Download the
Canadian cannabis consumer insights for legalization 2.0
as a printable document
(2 MB).

Health Canada took a phased approach to legalization and limited the product formats available for purchase in the first year to dried flower, cannabis oil, cannabis oil capsules, plants and seeds. Final amendments to the Cannabis Act and Regulations describing regulations for edibles, extracts, and topicals — referred to in this report as 2.0 products since they were intended for later legalization — were published in the Canada Gazette on 26 June 2019. Licence holders can begin to submit requests for licence amendments to produce additional product formats on 15 July 2019.

The amended regulations regarding the production and sale of 2.0 products will come into force on 17 October 2019. It’s expected that a limited selection of edible, extract and topical products will be available online or through retail stores beginning 16 December 2019. Prior to this, federal licence holders will need to provide 60 days’ notice to Health Canada to inform them of their new products coming to market.

Provincial and territorial regulatory bodies — which are also the sole distributors in every province except Saskatchewan and Manitoba — will also need time to put out requests for information, requests for proposals to qualify licence holders, issue product calls and purchase orders, and procure new products to make them available for sale. It is very likely that Canadians will not see robust product portfolios until late Q1 to Q2 2020.

To date, much of the consumer information collected on 2.0 products is from the US states where cannabis has been legalized, such as Colorado, Oregon, Washington and California. The differences between Canadian and US regulatory structures, both with respect to cannabis and other areas such as banking, the different levels of government and legal systems, as well as consumer attitudes within and towards the cannabis sector, give enough support to assume that Canadian consumers should be different from US consumers when referring to cannabis-based products.

Under this premise, Lift & Co. and EY have collaborated to enhance the understanding of the Canadian consumer. This report first explores the various consumer segmentations and their preferences, views on current and future products as supported by the survey results. It then further provides insights and perspectives for licence holders and retailers to challenge the way they currently integrate consumer data into their strategies.

Canadian consumer segments

About the survey

EY and Lift & Co. undertook a study to better understand segmentation, purchasing journey, current retail environment, influencers and barriers. They worked together to design and develop online surveys aimed at three main groups: consumers, non-consumers and budtenders. The population sample was extrapolated to be proportionately representative of the Canadian adult population based on age, gender and region. Approximately 3,000 individuals across Canada responded to the surveys. The respondents were segmented into six non-overlapping groups. Cannabis consumers were split into three groups based on their cannabis knowledge and frequency of consumption. Non-consumers of cannabis were split into three groups based on their attitude toward cannabis, legalization and likeliness of consuming cannabis.


Download the
Canadian cannabis consumer insights for legalization 2.0
as a printable document
(2 MB).

Contact us

Monica Chadha
National Cannabis Leader,
Central Canada
416 943 3496

Tim MacDonald
Partner, Transaction Advisory Services
416 943 2033

Ashley Chiu
Cannabis Strategy and Risk Advisor
416 943 5307

Karen Fung
Vice President, Transaction Advisory Services, Restructuring
416 943 2501

Eunice Wong
Vice President, Transaction Advisory Services
416 943 5369