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article imageAs legalization nears, marijuana-related charges at all-time low

By Karen Graham     Jul 24, 2018 in World
Ottawa - Continuing a six-year downward trend, the number of people charged with marijuana-related crimes in Canada last year was at the lowest level in 20 years.
On Monday, Statistics Canada released its police-reported crime statistics report that showed about 13,800 people were charged with possession of marijuana in 2017, marking the last full year that pot will be illegal.
The combined rate of possession, trafficking, production, and importation or exportation of cannabis declined 15 percent from 2016 with all provinces and territories reporting declines.
The DrugSwipe device can detect Cannabis  opiates  cocaine  amphetamine  methamphetamines (MDMA  ecs...
The DrugSwipe device can detect Cannabis, opiates, cocaine, amphetamine, methamphetamines (MDMA, ecstasy), benzodiazepines and ketamine.
However, it should also be noted that while the rate of police-reported impaired driving decreased by 4 percent in 2017 to 188 incidents per 100,000 population, representing the sixth year of consecutive decline - the rate of drug-impaired driving increased 10 percent.
There were 3,489 incidents of police-reported drug-impaired driving in 2017, 353 more than the previous year. This increase in drug-impaired driving was seen in all provinces and territories except Nova Scotia. Nearly half of the increase in drug-impaired driving charges were in Alberta and Quebec together, accounting for 95 and 76 of the total 353 additional incidents reported.
The difference is explained
According to Mike Serr, the deputy chief of the Abbotsford Police Department in B.C. and chair of the drug advisory committee of the Canadian Association of Chiefs of Police, there are two reasons for the decline in pot-related charges and the increase in drug-related impaired driving charges.
Statistics Canada
"Police forces have been focused on the opioid crisis and all the public-health issues surrounding it," Serr said, reports CBC Canada.
"And as we get closer to legalization, more police officers are using their discretion when dealing with minor infractions — especially [those] not involved with organized crime."
Comparison of pot-related charges in the U.S.
It may be that because the U.S. has a larger population, we are always a year behind Canada in Statistics; but in 2016, the number of people arrested for a marijuana law violation came to 653,249. The number of arrests for marijuana possession was only 74,64 — or 89 percent of the total of those arrested.
An ounce of Green Crack bought from a dispensary in California in 2008.
An ounce of Green Crack bought from a dispensary in California in 2008.
The number of states that have approved legally taxing and regulating marijuana comes to nine, including Alaska, California, Colorado, Maine, Massachusetts, Nevada, Oregon, Vermont and Washington.
If the U.S. were to legalize the recreational use of marijuana and then tax it at a comparable rate to the taxes on alcohol and tobacco, The Drug Policy Alliance says the country would realize $46.7 billion.
Other drug-related charges in Canada
Even though pot-related charges and cocaine-related charges have fallen, this does not apply to other illegal drugs. Heroin-related crimes are at their highest level since 1998 when records started being kept.
About 29.5 million people worldwide  or 0.6 percent of the adult population  suffered from drug use ...
About 29.5 million people worldwide, or 0.6 percent of the adult population, suffered from drug use disorders in 2015, with at least 190,000 mostly avoidable deaths annually, mainly from opioids
Erika SANTELICES, afp/AFP/File
A total of 1,244 people were charged with trafficking heroin last year, an almost four-fold increase from a decade ago. And Statistics Canada has decided they need a new crime category — called non-heroin opioids — just to keep up with the growing crisis that has devastated Canada and the U.S., alike.
The combined rate of possession, trafficking, production, and importation or exportation of drugs other than cannabis and cocaine has been increasing since 2010. Between 2016 and 2017, the most notable increases were reported for possession (an increase of 13 percent) and trafficking, production or importation/exportation (with an increase of 11 percent) of methamphetamines or ecstasy.
There was also a three percent increase in possession of “other drugs” such as prescription drugs, LSD, “date rape” drugs, and opioids including fentanyl, and a five percent increase in the trafficking, production or importation/exportation of these “other drugs.
More about Canada, Marijuana, opioid crisis, Legalization, nonheroin opioids
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