Canada: drying out the cannabis black market will take "several years", says Trudeau

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Drying the illicit cannabis market in Canada will take "several more years," Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said on Thursday, one year after the government legalized the drug for recreational purposes.

"We recognize that we have made progress (…) to eliminate some of the profits that go to the black market but we also know that it will take several years before it is a complete success," Trudeau told reporters. a press point on the sidelines of a campaign stage in Quebec, four days before the October 21 legislative elections in Canada.

Since Thursday, legal cannabis growers can also apply to Canadian authorities for marketing approval for edible cannabis products, which will be sold in Canada by mid-December.

Cannabis-infused food or beverages may not contain more than 10 milligrams of THC, the psychoactive substance of the plant. For cannabis extracts and dermatological products, the maximum allowable dose will be 1,000 milligrams per package.

One of the goals of the legalization of recreational cannabis, the flagship legislation of the Liberal leader's mandate, was to dry up the black market: yet only 29% of Canadians buy cannabis on the legal market, according to the latest official statistics.

Cannabis prices on the legal market remain higher than on the black market, although they fell for the first time in the third quarter, with an increase in supply and distribution points.

The average price of legal cannabis was 10.23 Canadian dollars (6.99 euros) per gram in the third quarter, against 5.59 dollars on the black market.

The entire market represents a jackpot of nearly C $ 6 billion (€ 4.1 billion) per year.

One year after legalization, the proportion of Canadians who use cannabis has remained unchanged: about 4.9 million Canadians (16%) aged 15 and over use it, according to Statistics Canada.

Legalization or not, consumption continues to remain higher among men (21%) than women (12%). It is also more common among young people: one in four consumers is between the ages of 15 and 24.

Canada became the second-largest country in the world to legalize recreational cannabis, five years after Uruguay, on October 17, 2018.

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