Politics & Landscape

Does Nova Scotia Smoke the Most Weed in Canada?

August 4, 2022

In short, yes.

If you ask a Canadian which province has the highest cannabis use in the country, they’ll probably guess British Columbia. Everyone’s heard of B.C. bud, right? 

But the answer actually lies on the opposite coast. Statistics say Nova Scotia often ranks highest in the country for cannabis consumption. Is that true?

As it turns out, Canada’s official statistics agency has looked into this. 

Nova Scotia Smokes the Most Weed in Canada Per Capita

Statistics Canada found in a survey spanning three years that Nova Scotia has the highest percentage of weed smokers in the country — at least, among those who admit it.

Between 2018 and 2020, StatsCan asked people 15 years of age and older if they had used cannabis in the past three months. Those three years of data from the National Cannabis Survey found that 27% of Nova Scotians admitted to using cannabis in any form in the past three months. 

a mason jar filled with nugs of green and purple cannabis
Based on a recent survey by StatsCan, Nova Scotia consumes more cannabis than any other Canadian province. Photo credit: Shutterstock

In 2017, pre-legalization, StatsCan also found that Nova Scotians consumed an average of 27.06 grams of weed per person, per year. That’s compared to just 21.1 grams for Canadians overall.

There’s no glaringly obvious reason why Nova Scotia smokes the most weed in Canada (other than the Trailer Park Boysinfluence). But the trend is continuing. 

Legal cannabis sales in the province shot up in 2022 by more than 18%. The provincial retailer opened 13 new stores in Nova Scotia, and licensee sales went up by 45.1% as pandemic restrictions were lifted. Halifax alone has dozens of pot shops within walking distance.

What About the Rest of Canada?

One-fifth of Canadians, or 20%, told StatsCan they had used weed in the past three months. 

British Columbia took home second place (no surprise there) with 25% of people saying they smoked weed. Ontario was in third with 23%. 

The lowest percentage of admitted pot smokers was in Quebec. Just 11% said they had used cannabis in the past three months.

Why is StatsCan Interested in Who Smokes Weed?

StatsCan started the survey to track the changing use of cannabis after legalization on Oct. 17, 2018. It started asking questions in the beginning of 2018 to track changes.

The agency found that provinces either increased their cannabis usage or kept it the same after legalization. For instance, Nova Scotia kept its usage the same in the first quarter of 2019, but increased it by 9% in 2020.

According to survey results, none of the provinces’ pot use dropped between the first quarter of 2018 and 2020 — but way more people started getting it from legal sources. Just 23% of cannabis users bought legal weed in 2018, before recreational cannabis was legalized. That jumped to 68% by 2020. And only 8% grew their own in 2018, compared to 14% in 2020.

Frequently Asked Questions

How Many People Smoke Weed in Nova Scotia?

As of 2020, 27.3% of survey respondents told Statistics Canada that they had used cannabis in the past three months — the highest percentage in the country.

What Percentage of the Canadian Population Smokes Weed?

StatsCan found in 2020 that 20% of Canadians surveyed admitted to using cannabis in the past three months. 

Which Province Smokes the Most Weed?

Nova Scotia. Statistics Canada found in 2018 that people in the province consumed an average of 27.06 grams of pot per person, per year. The Canadian average was 21.10.