We've seen some huge changes in Canada during the first year of cannabis legalization. Some are positive, some negative, but nonetheless, our country will never be the same again.
Cannabis-related crimes have seen a steady decrease in the last year. Though the black market still exists, cannabis-related crimes in Canada have decreased 29% overall. Quebec closely follows the national average, seeing a 28% decrease in cannabis-related crimes.
Our province is an excellent example of how cannabis legalization is a slowly improving process with many benefits. According to data from Statistics Canada, police-reported cannabis crimes drastically decreased for the 7th year in a row.
Bills C-45 and C-46 were implemented after cannabis legalization and have helped police officers construct a legal framework for the regulation of cannabis. New provisions also give police the tools to better screen drivers who might be under the influence.
The provinces that saw the biggest decrease in police-reported cannabis crimes are Nova Scotia (39%), Manitoba (39%), Saskatchewan (35%), and Alberta (38%). The Northwest Territories also saw a huge decrease in offences.
While Quebec was close to the national average, Ontario (26%) and British Columbia (26%) lagged behind the rest of the country.
Still, not all cannabis-related crime has been stamped out. Canada saw a 22% increase in criminal incidents of importation and exportation. In fact, import/export crimes are the most widely-reported cannabis crimes in the country.
In Quebec, the police reported 136 violations of the Cannabis Act post-legalization. In most cases, violators were found carrying more than the allotted 30 grams on their person.
Many criminals still attempt to illegally sell cannabis via the black market. Apparently, police found a total of 276 cases of individuals trying to sell and possessing with intent to sell according to Canada's Cannabis Stats Hub.
In Quebec, import/export of cannabis still poses problems as police reported 165 violations. Growing and cultivating continues to see decreasing numbers overall.
It'll be interesting to see how these crime statistics shape up once driving violations are factored in.
As Canada gears up for a second wave of legalization, including the sale of edibles, later this year, expect some of these numbers to fluctuate.
For now, signs are encouraging. Based on one year of statistics, it seems that legalization is slowly accomplishing the task of removing the black market.