Edmonton police expect cannabis-related costs to soar higher

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After an active first year since federal cannabis legalization came into effect, Edmonton police are predicting an intensification of cannabis-related offences.

And with legal edibles set to hit the shelves sometime in December, a report authored by the city is predicting that along with Edmonton residents, police costs will be getting higher.

Having dealt this year with two house explosions, an increase in impaired driving charges, and a multitude of illicit products confiscated via Canada Post, officers are bracing themselves for Round 2, thanks to a city-authored report released this week in anticipation of an upcoming city council meeting of the Community and Public Services Committee.

Police in Edmonton made a budget request of $1.4 million for cannabis-related policing, which was denied by city council, who explained the decision was based in part on the limited supply of cannabis initially available when Alberta Gaming, Liquor, and Cannabis (AGLC) placed a temporary moratorium on sales licenses, which has since been lifted.

“With edibles, comes a demand for it,” Councillor and Edmonton Police Commission member Sarah Hamilton, who also chairs the committee, told Global News.

“Per the federal government, we will not see edibles on the market on October 17, it’s when the manufacturing of edibles can start.”

Hamilton says that her concern is that illicit or homemade THC-infused products are about to flood the market as the one-year delay on second-wave cannabis products such as edibles and extracts comes to an end on in October, although they can’t be legally sold until the end of the year.

“There will be the ability to have them but there won’t be any legally available, so I think it is a risk we have to watch for.”

The report also cites shatter, a highly potent cannabis extract, as a major concern.

Police say that for the first time, they are noticing a significant increase in risky and unpredictable behaviour by users who have no criminal record or previous history with Edmonton Police.

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