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article imageStatCan cannabis survey finds 1 in 7 Canadians driving high

By Karen Graham     Aug 9, 2018 in Science
Ottawa - A new Statistics Canada survey has found about 1.4 million Canadians reported they had been a passenger in a vehicle driven by someone who had consumed cannabis in the previous two hours.
With the federal government's Cannabis Act set to become law on Oct. 17, Statistics Canada has begun measuring the social and economic impacts of legalized cannabis through a quarterly national cannabis survey.
In the survey results released on August 8, StatCan reported that about 1.4 million Canadians reported that they had been a passenger in a vehicle driven by someone who had consumed cannabis in the previous two hours.
This second-quarter report also found that about 4.6 million people nationally, or close to 16 percent of Canadians aged 15 and up, reported using cannabis in the prior three-month period. This number was up 2.0 percent from what was reported in the first quarter of this year.
As for driving within two hours of using cannabis, one in seven cannabis users (14 percent) with a driver’s license said they had got behind the wheel at least once within two hours of using the drug in the past three months. This is the same percentage of users that were found in the first quarter survey.
Driving within two hours of using cannabis was also more than four times as common among drivers who reported daily or almost daily cannabis use (27 percent) than it was among less frequent users (6 percent). First quarter survey results showed that daily or almost daily cannabis use raised driving within two hours of cannabis use 23 percent.
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This is an important statistic because getting behind the wheel of a vehicle after using cannabis is considered to be risk-taking behavior. And risk-taking behaviors are often related. Additional analysis shows that two-thirds of people who had driven a vehicle within two hours of using cannabis also reported being passengers in vehicles operated by other drivers who had consumed within two hours.
During the first quarter survey, one-third of cannabis consumers reported that they did not spend anything on the product they consumed. This figure corresponds with the fact that almost one-third of consumers reported they obtained their cannabis from friends or family. Almost one in four cannabis users reported spending more than $250 over the past three months.
Interestingly, this is one statistic that has remained the same for the second quarter survey. And it goes without saying that higher spending was concentrated among more frequent users and little or no spending among infrequent users.
And one last interesting bit of data from the survey - When asked if they would increase their use of marijuana when it became legalized, among current users, 28 percent indicated that they would be likely to increase their use, a figure more than four times the percentage (6 percent) of those not currently using.
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