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Cannabis survey offers $20 to territorial residents who take part

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Individuals from N.W.T., Yukon and Nunavut being asked about their views and use of cannabis to help inform future policy approaches

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A Canadian survey is reportedly looking to sweeten the pot for Northerners taking part in an online survey looking at use of cannabis and other drugs by offering participants $20 each.

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According to the Yukon News, territorial residents with a mailbox and an email address will be getting a card asking if they would like to take part in the Health Canada-funded study spanning all three northern territories.

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The poll will gather input between Sept. 12 and Oct. 31 and related insights will offer fodder for how best to “improve aspects of legalization, regulations and policies,” the News reports.

  1. In 2020, the territorial government announced its plans to issue cannabis retail licenses, including that community consultation would be required. /

    Proposed location of Nunavut’s second cannabis store draws mixed reaction

  2. About 1,500 participants, 500 in each territory, will take part in the survey that will be available in English, French, Inuktitut, and Inuinnaqtun. /

    Study to track how cannabis is being accessed, consumed and perceived in the North

  3. In year one of legalization, consumers were paying some of the highest prices in the country and had limited purchasing options. /

    After sluggish start, cannabis sales gain foothold in Northwest Territories

The three-year study, which kicked off in 2021, involves inhabitants of Yukon, N.W.T. and Nunavut and is part of a larger international cannabis policy study led by principal investigator David Hammond, PhD., a professor at University of Waterloo in Ontario.

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Survey’s goal is to shed light on the impact of cannabis policies

The International Cannabis Policy Study (ICPS) is an annual poll that has been up and running since 2018, the year Canada legalized recreational weed, and involved input from individuals both here at home and in the U.S. The surveys were expanded in 2021 to include some other countries.

“The overall objective of the ICPS project is to understand the impact of cannabis policies, including the overall impact of legalization, as well as specific regulatory measures, such as product standards, retail policies, cannabis marketing and public education,” notes a study write-up.

Investigators say poll results will provide a comprehensive assessment of cannabis use, including as it relates to patterns of consumption, buying, adverse outcomes and attitudes and beliefs.

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The plan is to have three annual reports for the information gathered, as well as a final report after the project wraps up. Information from the university notes the survey is expected to take 25 minutes to complete.

Investigators want to hear from cannabis users and non-users alike

An ICPS update posted last fall noted that investigators are looking to hear from those aged 16 and older in Canada’s three northern territories, whether they use cannabis or not. Feedback from 500 participants per territory is being sought.

Among other things, the gathered information is expected to help identify whether or not “specific socio-demographic subgroups are more at risk for problematic cannabis use, and the longer-term public health effects of cannabis legalization.”

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An exploratory study published in the International Journal for Circumpolar Health in 2021 looked at cannabis use and related risk behaviours among alcohol consumers in both Whitehorse and Yellowknife.

In all, 47 per cent of respondents were past 12-month cannabis consumers, and 15.5 per cent were daily/almost daily consumers, significantly higher than in the provinces. Additionally, 24 per cent of those surveyed had ridden with a driver who had used cannabis, while 31.9 per cent of cannabis consumers had driven within two hours of cannabis use, also significantly higher than the provinces.

A policy brief from the Canadian Centre on Substance Use and Addiction notes “self-reported survey data show that cannabis use is more prevalent and frequent among people with self-reported poorer mental health.”

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According to the Yukon News, Hammond said in an interview that potency is problematic for regulators trying to develop rules related to advertising and use.

Feedback can help support future decision-making locally

“The real purpose of this cannabis policy study is to provide ongoing evidence that can be used by local decision-makers to inform current and future cannabis policies and the territories,” Erin Hobin, study co-lead and a senior scientist with Public Health Ontario, is quoted as saying.

Hobin said that while survey participants (one per household) can complete the poll by phone, an email address and bank account are a must to get the $20 thank you.

The regulatory and scientific consulting company, CannDelta, Inc., point out there are 16 cannabis retail stores in the three territories to date.

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Despite the small number of available legal stores, though, Statistics Canada has reported that Yukon led the country in legal cannabis purchases per capita from licensed stores during the first year following legalization of recreational weed.

A bit of cash sometimes used to incentivize participation

Paying for participation has been done with other cannabis-related polls. For example, last December, the University of Colorado Boulder began recruiting people who combine cannabis with exercise for a study. Participants needed to live in the Boulder area and be either men aged 21 to 40 or women between the ages of 21 and 50. Each recruit could look forward to getting paid about $127.

In the summer of 21, the Virginia Tech Transportation Institute was on the hunt for local study participants who had a new-ish vehicle and smoked weed. Accepted participants who enrolled for three months could receive maximum compensation of $3,250 to $6,250.

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In February of 2021, researchers at Johns Hopkins University put out feelers for healthy people in the Baltimore area who want to eat cannabis edibles and drink alcohol in the name of science.

The idea was to explore how individuals perform on tests after they’ve consumed both a brownie containing cannabis and some alcohol. For participants completing the study, they could earn as much as $3,400.

And in 2019, Colorado’s School of Public Health reported that cannabis-using and non-using participants were needed for a cannabis driving study. Although the agency did not specify how much each volunteer would receive — and made clear Those taking part would be responsible for supplying 100 per cent of their weed — it added they “will be financially compensated for their participation.”

In late May, Statistics Canada figures showed Canadian retail sales of cannabis jumped 10.7 per cent in March to an all-time high of just shy of $358.8 million.

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