First Post-Legalization Cannabis Study Provides Early Insights About Cannabis Consumers and the Impact of Legalization

CBJ Newsmakers

Calgarians are very positive about cannabis from an economic perspective, but concerned about potential health and safety impacts

CALGARY, Alberta, Nov. 06, 2018 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) — Insights Matter and Cannabiz Social administered an online survey with 432 adult Calgarians in order to understand behaviors and attitudes when it comes to cannabis and cannabis legalization. This highly focused study was the first of its kind in Calgary since legalization. The study explored brand awareness for licensed producers, shopping behavior online and in-store, the importance of “locally grown,” and the perceived impacts of cannabis legalization on Albertans.

“We learned that Calgarians are positive about the impact of cannabis legalization when it comes to the Alberta economy. They believe that this has the potential to be extremely positive for job creation and economic diversification, and for the economy in general,” said Insights Matter President, Dr. Derek Blair. “We also learned that Calgarians are highly concerned about the impact that cannabis use could have on road safety and the related well-being of Albertans.”

The research shows that the Calgary cannabis market to date has been driven by 18 to 34-year-olds, with 9% of Calgarians within that age range indicating they purchased cannabis in-store and 6% of Calgarians within that same demographic indicating they purchased cannabis online through AGLC. In total, approximately 39,000 Calgarians purchased cannabis in-store and an additional 28,000 purchased cannabis online in the first few days of legalization.

Although the retail cannabis market is currently driven by 18 to 34-year-olds, a portion of all age demographics indicated that they are open to the idea of purchasing cannabis at some point in the future. Significantly, among respondents who might purchase cannabis in the future, 40% would choose Alberta-grown cannabis with the sentiment being consistent amongst all of the age ranges.

“Cannabis retailers preparing to enter the market in Alberta should consider designing their stores in a way that allows them to feature Alberta grown cannabis and they should lock up supply agreement for locally grown cannabis,” said Cannabiz Social President, Peter Pilarski. “There is a real marketing play here for those building cannabis businesses within the province.”

“What is clear is that cannabis sales have not met their potential to date,” explained Dr. Blair. “A high percentage of Calgarians reported that they tried to visit an online or physical store but experienced challenges that prevented them from doing so.”

Other research highlights include:

  • The percentage of Calgarians aged 55 + that reportedly purchased cannabis online from AGLC was zero (0%);
  • 61% of Calgarians believe that cannabis legalization will have a positive impact on the Alberta economy;
  • 49% of Calgarians believe that cannabis legalization will have a positive impact on economic diversification in Alberta;
  • 72% of Calgarians believe that cannabis legalization will have a negative impact on road safety in Alberta.

Download the Market Research Study

Insights Matter and Cannabiz Social are collaborating on an in-depth syndicated national study in the coming month to better understand consumer demographics and preferences across Canada. Licensed producers and cannabis retailers interested in participating in that study are encouraged to contact Peter Pilarski at Results from the national syndicated study will only be made available to participating organizations.

About Insights Matter

Insights Matter is one of the leading consumer insights and market research firms in Alberta. They use traditional and innovative research methods to help businesses see beyond the obvious when trying to understand their markets, increase customer engagement, and develop or improve products and services. For more information visit

About Cannabiz Social

We are Cannabiz Social, a CIPR Communications company. We exist to empower the cannabis industry through innovative communications. Our services include communications strategy and execution in the areas of public and media relations, stakeholder management, crisis communications and planning, media training, brand development and design, social media and digital marketing. For more information visit   

Media Contact

Peter Pilarski, President
Cannabiz Social Inc.
C: 403-462-1160