5.3 million Canadians smoked weed to start the year

More Canadians are using, or at least trying cannabis.

The latest numbers from Stats Canada shows that in the last three months about 5.3 million or 18% of Canadians over the age of 15 have reported using the drug. It represents a four per cent increase compared to the first quarter one year earlier.

The increase in partially due to the higher rate of use among men aged 45 to 64. The group saw an eight per cent jump since legalization.

Use among women remained stable at 13 per cent and numbers were unchanged for just about every other age group.

The first quarter of 2019 also saw more Canadians begin to use cannabis, some were just first time (646,000) users while others were former users who decided to try it again after legalization.

The data also indicates that nearly half of Canadian pot smokers are buying their drug through legal sources, include authorized retailers and online licensed producers.

About 1.1 million Canadians over the age of 15 reported they were in a car being driven by someone who had consumed cannabis within two hours and 57 per cent of people who say they've driven a vehicle within two hours of smoking pot were also a passenger in the same situation.

Daily or near daily use remained stable but since legalization weekly and occasional use has increased by two per cent.