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Canadian Legalization Associated With “Significant Reductions” In Police-Reported Cannabis Offences

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Previously, researchers in Canada reported that the 2018 Canadian Cannabis Act was associated with a short-term post-legalization reduction in police-reported cannabis-related crimes among youth.

In an attempt to try to establish whether the reduction was sustained, the researchers then examined new data several years after legalization was implemented. The new study included three years of post-legalization data in addition to the data from the prior study.

“Using national daily criminal incident data from January 1, 2015–December 31, 2021 from the Canadian Uniform Crime Reporting Survey (UCR-2), the study employed Seasonal Autoregressive Integrated Moving Average (SARIMA) time series models to assess the associations between legalization and youth cannabis-related offences.” the researchers stated about the design of the study.

The data involved police-reported cannabis-related offenses among youth aged 12-17 years (male, n = 34,508; female, n = 9,529).

“Legalization was associated with significant reductions in both male and female police-reported cannabis-related offences: females, 4.04 daily incidents [95% confidence interval (CI), 3.08; 5.01)], a 62.1% decrease [standard error (se), 34.3%]; males, 12.42 daily offences (95% CI, 8.99; 15.86), a reduction of 53.0% (se, 22.7%). There was no evidence of associations between cannabis legalization and patterns of property or violent crimes.” the researchers stated.

“Results suggest that the impact of the Cannabis Act on reducing cannabis-related youth crimes is sustained, supporting the Act’s objectives to reduce cannabis-related criminalization among youth and associated burden on Canadian criminal justice system.” the researchers concluded.

In addition to reductions in cannabis-related youth crimes being reported, legalization in Canada has served as a tremendous economic booster. Previous studies have found that the legal cannabis industry in Canada has created at least 151,000 jobs.

Additionally, Deloitte estimates that the legal cannabis industry in Canada has contributed over $43.5 billion to the nation’s GDP since the start of legalization. Cannabis companies have directly invested roughly $4.4 billion into Canada’s economy, with the remaining boost to GDP coming from “indirect” economic contributions, and “induced” contributions according to Deloitte.