Cannabis Flower Prices and Transitions to Legal Sources After Legalization in Canada, 2019–2020


The post-tax price of legal cannabis has the potential to influence whether consumers transition from the illegal to legal cannabis market. The aims of the study were to: 1) estimate the percentage who report purchasing dried flower at different sources; 2) estimate the unit price of dried flower; and 3) examine the association between price and legality of purchase source.


Repeat cross-sectional survey data come from Canadian respondents from the International Cannabis Policy Study conducted in 2019 and 2020. Respondents were recruited through online commercial panels, of legal age to purchase cannabis (up to 65 years), and purchased dried flower in the past 12-months (n = 4923). Weighted binary logistic regression models examined the association between price and legality of source.


The proportion of consumers last purchasing dried flower from legal sources increased from 2019 to 2020 (45.7% vs 58.1%) and in the past 12-months, the average percent of dried flower consumers reported purchasing from legal sources increased from 2019 to 2020 (55.7% vs 67.5%). The mean price of legal dried flower decreased in 2020 ($12.63 vs $11.16; p < 0.001), but remained more expensive than illegal dried flower in both years ($12.63 vs $9.04 in 2019; p < 0.001, $11.16 vs $9.41 in 2020; p < 0.001).


Two years after legalization in Canada, the price of dried flower from legal sources decreased, along with a greater percentage of consumers purchasing from legal sources than after one year. Price and retail policies must continue to encourage the transition to the legal market in Canada.

The full study is available in Drug and Alcohol Dependence.