July 27, 2017 Canada
Charges related to cannabis have been plummeting since 2011. However, the entire country has not had the opportunity to make the most of this decline. For certain unfortunate areas of the country, cannabis-related charges have actually climbed during the same period.
In Canada, over 17,700 people above the age of 12 were charged with cannabis offenses last year. This data was released by Statistics Canada. Although the number of charged people is quite high, it is relatively better if compared to 2015 where around 21,300 people were charged.
On the brighter side, possession charges in Canada have witnessed a steep decline. Since 2010, cannabis-possession charges have declined by over 10,000. On the other hand, import and export charges have remained flat since long before 2000.
Some places like Quebec haven’t been able to witness a decline in possession arrests. In fact, this region, and other cities like Montreal, have actually seen an increase in possession charges since 1998. The good part is that rates here have remained relatively steadier for the past two years.
A criminal defense lawyer in Montreal—Eric Sutton—told the news that cannabis-related concerns in Quebec have been higher than any other part of the country. As per the reports revealed by CBC, 73 out of every 100,000 people in Montreal were charged for the possession of cannabis back in 2016. The rate was a tad bit higher for Quebec with 76 people being charged per 100,000 people. When it comes to Canada as a whole, the rate is 56 per 100k.
One of the long-time advocates—Marc Boris St-Maurice —of cannabis legalization in Montreal was utterly disappointed by these statistics. St-Maurice said that there should be more leniency when it comes to the consumption of marijuana, especially provided the fact that cannabis will soon be legalized in the country. Marc Boris St-Maurice is also the head of Montreal Compassion Centre and works as an advocate for the cannabis industry.