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October 17 Has Come and Gone and the Sky Has Not Fallen,’ Calgary Police on Cannabis Legalization

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Fears of increased crime after legalizing marijuana have yet to become a reality in Canada’s fourth-largest city.

A number of police departments across Canada have weighed in on how the country’s recent legalization of recreational cannabis for adults has affected crime rates in their jurisdictions. Now, the Calgary Police Service is joining most of the others in saying things are still pretty much the same as they were before.

October 17 has come and gone and the sky has not fallen,” Katie Doucette — the Calgary Police Service’s Project Manager on Cannabis — said during a presentation to the police commission on Tuesday.

The number of impaired driving cases over the last month is exactly the same as the month before, and there have only been five violations of the Cannabis Act in Calgary so far and only 11 tickets issued for public consumption.

I think that’s good news,” Commission Chair Brian Thiessen told CBC. “[The numbers] were not alarming, I don’t think cannabis legalization has had a significant impact on either policing efforts or societal issues.”

However, as Interim Chief Steve Barlow says, he hopes some changes will be coming in the future, specifically in the form of cost savings.

One of the premises of legislation was it would save money…so I’d like to see what those numbers are,” he said.

Of course, finding the true cost savings of full cannabis legalization will take some time. Still, the number of police agencies across the country that say legalization hasn’t led to any big upswings in crime rates is an encouraging starting point for Canada’s fledgling legislation.

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