The 2019 World Drug Report recently-released by the United Nations Office On Drug and Crime reaches a conclusion that may or may not come as a surprise to residents of British Columbia.
The study found that between 2013 and 2017, 23% of B.C. residents used cannabis, a percentage that surpasses the national average of 15% and is the highest in Canada.
Cannabis was legalized on October 17th, 2018 as part of the federal Cannabis Act.
Other trends identified in the report included a 40% increase in use across Canada since 2013, and a 62% increase since 2011. A significant factor in that spike is an increase in use among young adults around and below the age of 19.
Much of this may not come as a shock, but what may be more interesting is what this could potentially mean for the future of British Columbia. To that, we can look to a recent New York Times study of Colorado.
The study found that since Colorado legalized cannabis in 2014, there’s been a notable increase in the rate of emergency room visits and mental-health cases involving marijuana. None, however, were fatal.
The report also found that since 2014, low-level marijuana charges have significantly dropped off and marijuana-related arrests have declined across the board. The one thing that did increase? Deaths and traffic accidents where marijuana was a factor, and misdemeanors involving the growing of marijuana.
Will these trends travel across the border? Only time will tell.
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