Good for you, Canada.
A man smokes marijuana on Parliament Hill on 4/20 in Ottawa, Ontario, April 20, 2017. (Photo by LARS HAGBERG/AFP/Getty Images)
Good for you, Canada. As the years go by, you are smoking more and more weed than the generations before you. How much weed exactly is still a matter of debate, but Statistics Canada believes they’ve managed to narrow down some numbers. Which, if you are currently a teen in Canada, is almost three times more than your parents ever admitted to smoking.
Stats Canada hasn’t had many weed-centric polls over the years to pull statistics from, and instead has had to pull together fragments of information from nine different surveys about health and alcohol. Surveys that at least mentioned cannabis, dating back to 1985. Results from the mid-80s reported that 5.6 percent of respondents 15 years and older claimed to smoke marijuana. By 2015, that number more than doubled, increasing to 12.3 percent.
Between 2004 and 2015, smoking among teens actually plateaued and even decreased among women. The slack was picked up by smokers 25 and older, who have been increasing in their numbers. This all suggests that most of this smoking boomed during the 90s. You remember the 90s? Half Baked. The Chronic. God, we were high.
Of course, survey results may say less about actual drug use and more about people’s comfort admitting to it. So if you’re skeptical that the teens of the 2000s were less enthusiastic about smoking weed than the teens who got the better seasons of The Simpsons, you can perhaps pin it on growing up in the era of social media and digital surveillance.
Getting hard numbers on pot consumption can be tricky, since most cannabis has been from the black market for most of our lives. Stats Canada has even proposed wading through sewage for THC traces to get a better idea on pot use before legalization goes into effect.
“One of the things that’s changing is respondents’ attitudes toward cannabis use over time, as well as perhaps their willingness to declare drug use in a survey,” said Stats Canada’s Michelle Rotermann. “We do know from other studies pertaining to youth that factors such as fear of the consequences from parents or from the negative of cannabis itself could have an impact on cannabis use for young people.”