British Columbians spent more on gasoline, housing and certain kinds of food, but less on recreational marijuana in December 2019, according to new inflation numbers from Statistics Canada.
The Consumer Price Index (CPI) rose 2.2 per cent in December 2019 compared to December 2018. Excluding gasoline, the CPI rose two per cent, the smallest gain since November 2018.
Gasoline prices in December 2019 were 7.4 per cent higher than the same month the previous year, as energy prices as a whole rose 5.5 per cent on a year-over-year basis.
Mortgage interests also rose six per cent on a year-over-year basis, as one of the top factors in the overall increase. The price of fresh vegetables also rose by 1.5 per cent. This said, the increase has actually slowed down when compared to December 2018, when lettuce price rose following an E. coli outbreak.
Higher cannabis inventories contributed to falling prices for recreational cannabis. Compared to December 2018, they dropped by seven per cent in December 2019, largely due to holiday sale pricing.
Demand for the product has certainly risen. In 2018, 5.03 million Canadians aged 15 and over reported consuming cannabis, with 718,176 reporting daily use. In 2014, the figure was 4.36 million, with 621,188 reporting daily use. As of 2018, the latest available year for data, the federal government recorded 1,601 licensed sources of cannabis for domestic production and a total of 17 licensed retail stores, figures that have gone up since.
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