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Marijuana legalization, one month later

Calgary, AB, Canada / RTBN
Marijuana legalization, one month later

CPS gave an update on the legalization of marijuana at the Calgary Police Commission Public Session.

“The sky has not fallen because of cannabis legalization.”

Between October 2017 and October 2018, Calgary Police Service (CPS) spent just over $3 million to prepare for the legalization of marijuana on October 17, 2018. The $3 million can be broken down into two categories; hard costs and soft costs. The hard costs were equipment, costing $593,000. The soft costs were primarily the mandatory training for all frontline CPS members, costing $2,462,000.

There hasn’t been a significant shift in crime rates in Calgary since legalization, but there has been a total of five cannabis related violations:

  1. An illicit grow-op was shut down in October, with an estimated $1.3 million worth of plants.
  2. Possession of cannabis for the purpose of selling in multiple forms, such as oil and edibles.
  3. Possession of cannabis for the purpose of trafficking.
  4. Possession of cannabis and illicit drugs.
  5. Youth in possession of 5 grams of cannabis at school, along with other illicit substances.

Along with the violations, CPS officers wrote 11 tickets for public consumption.

Chair of the Calgary Police Commission Brian Thiessen says the legalization of cannabis hasn’t impacted societal issues or policing efforts so far.

“I think we’re all a little bit surprised,” Thiessen says, “the numbers are not significantly high. As the CPS pointed out, the sky has not fallen because of cannabis legalization.”

The lack of technology available for roadside testing has been one of the largest challenges associated with legalization. No drug related impaired driving charges have been laid since legalization, but there were two 24-hour suspensions for people who were driving under the influence.
“The CPS seems to be keeping the public safe,” Thiessen says, “they’re monitoring it but I suspect it will be a slow roll-out of effective roadside testing.”
Thiessen says until proper roadside tests are available, 24-hour suspensions will be more common than impaired driving charges.

-Mandy Vocke

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