Cannabis user numbers remain flat in Canada, findings of little surprise to NH medical officer

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Since cannabis was made legal in Canada last October, the new legislation has not led to an increase in the number of people smoking pot.

According to a Stats Canada report, around 4.6 million people over the age of 15 reported using the drug in the last three months, virtually unchanged from the previous three months before it was legalized.

The findings are of little shock to Northern Health Medical Officer Dr. Andrew Gray. “Since cannabis was not that difficult to access here in Canada before it was legalized, here in BC, 50% of the people had tried cannabis at some point in their lives prior to legalization. People that wanted to use cannabis already were and the people that didn’t won’t use it even now that it is legal in Canada.”

Gray is of the opinion the report was published too early, citing not enough of sample size has been measured to this point.

“The overall cannabis market hasn’t totally transformed yet, the black market is too a large extent intact and the legal market has not expanded to the point where it would be replacing the black market so we’re still in a transition phase.”

Places like Prince George are looking at the possibility of having a government-run cannabis store in the city, but the motion has yet to be passed by council.

Gray says if that does happen, the quality of the product should be of little danger to the public.

“Some people are already getting that product somewhere where they prefer a more regulated product where the supply is really well known so we know where it has been tracked and where it comes from and we know the contents and everything. Overall safer products are what people potentially have access too.”

“But, we do have to be cautious in not opening the gates too wide and I think two stores is reasonable for a place like Prince George as we would not want a cannabis store on every corner and stores would have to be in control over their own marketing.”

Ottawa legalized marijuana in October of 2018.

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