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Marijuana use down among minors, up among older Canadians, StatsCan study finds

"Nearly 5 million Canadians consume pot, driving an industry worth more than $5B a year

About 4.9 million Canadians consumed cannabis in 2015, according to a new research study released by Statistics Canada. (Justin Tang/Canadian Press)

More older Canadians, including senior citizens, are using marijuana as fewer minors consume the substance, according to a new study released Monday by Statistics Canada.

The report shows that nearly five million Canadians used pot in 2015, a growing trend that also marks a demographic shift away from what was once "youth-driven" market in the 1960s and 1970s.

By 2015, less than six per cent of consumers were in the 15-17 year-old age group, compared to two-thirds of consumers who were 25 years old or older, according to the federal statistical agency.

"This study and others has shown recently that use of cannabis among youth has either remained stable or has declined whereas use among older individuals has increased," analyst Michelle Rotermann told CBC News.

The percentage of youth pot consumers has fluctuated over the years, but the 2015 figure marks the lowest in decades.

In 1960 an estimated 18 per cent of marijuana users were minors, which increased to 22 per cent in 1980, then fell to 12 per cent by 2000. By 2015, only 5.8 per cent of marijuana users were aged 15-17.

Additional data provided to CBC News from Statistics Canada shows there are fluctuations in youth consumers over the decades. Consumption rose in the 1970s, peaking at 495,000 consumers aged 15-17, then declining in the late 1980s and early 1990s.

The number of young consumers has declined in the past decade, with 283,000 minors using cannabis in 2015, down from 373,000 in 2005.

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and other members of his government have repeatedly stated that the government's plan to legalize marijuana is to remove profits from criminals and to limit access to minors.

Today's report says there is a need to measure the economic and social impacts of legal weed as Canada prepares to legalize, regulate and restrict cannabis in July 2018."...

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