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Cannabis legalization ‘a major hit’ online, cross-Canada study says

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https://www.thestar.com/news/cannabis/2019/05/15/cannabis-legalization-a-major-hit-online-cross-canada-study-says.html

egalized cannabis laws may have drawn modest enthusiasm across Canada.

But they’re a raging hit on Reddit.

While a recent poll of 2,002 adults indicated that approval of legalization sat at a measured 43 per cent among Canadians in general — with 34 per cent opposed — a new survey of 300,000 online interactions has pegged “elation” levels for the legislation at up to 72 per cent on major social media platforms like Reddit and Twitter.

Indeed, overall internet interest in cannabis has surged since the laws came into effect last October, with online searches of pot and related keywords growing by 43 per cent since, says the survey by the marketing and analytics firm MiQ.

“Overall, the legislation was a major hit amongst the younger Canadian audiences, with a neutral response for audiences over the age of 45 years,” it said.

“I think the major finding that we’ve realized is just the influx of people that are talking about it,” Jason Furlano, vice-president of sales for the international company’s Canadian division, added in an interview.

And that interest will translate into massive amounts of spending, he says. The firm’s survey indicates an expected $32 billion to be shelled out annually on recreational cannabis alone by 2022, he says.

“There’s a direct correlation” between interest and spending, Furlano says.

As noted in many previous studies and analyses, however, he says strict prohibitions that the new laws impose on advertising, branding and product information by major cannabis producers will hinder industry growth. Much of the online activity since October, Furlano says, was devoted to information searches about such things as the health and intoxicating effects of various cannabis products.

“People are searching the medicinal benefits of cannabis (for example), but the brands themselves can’t actively talk about a lot of those benefits,” he says. “The search didn’t match up with what the messaging was and the messaging is going to be, for years to come.”

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