(Alexandria, VA) – A new Canadian federal study released yesterday found a 27% increase in marijuana use among people aged 15 to 24 over the last year. Additionally, approximately 646,000 Canadians have reported trying marijuana for the first time in the last three months, an amount almost double the 327,000 that admitted to trying the drug for the same time period last year.
“Last year, Canada flouted international treaties and allowed a predatory, addiction-for-profit industry to entrench itself nationwide – and now we are beginning to see the results,” said Dr. Kevin Sabet, founder and president of Smart Approaches to Marijuana and a former senior drug policy advisor to President Obama. “It is stunning what has happened in such a short period of time: A doubling of first-time use of today’s highly potent and addictive marijuana and a rise in use among young people. This is incredibly concerning for the implications it has on mental health.”
The data, drawn from the newly released National Cannabis Survey, highlighted other concerning takeaways relating to marijuana use and driving:
- 15% of marijuana users got behind the wheel of a car within two hours of using the drug.
- Daily users were more than twice as likely to believe that it was safe for them to operate a vehicle within three hours of ingesting the drug.
- 20% of Canadians who reported driving under the influence of marijuana admitted to also consuming alcohol at the same time.
- About 13%, or half a million, Canadian workers who are active marijuana users admitted to using the drug either prior to or during work.
“The initial results are in for Canada and what we see is increased use, more dangerous roads, and more unsafe workplaces,” continued Dr. Sabet. “This report comes on the heels of another study finding that the black market in Canada is absolutely thriving, with over 79% of marijuana sales in the last quarter of 2018 occurring outside the legal market. Lawmakers in the United States should take a close look at this data – which mirrors data in “legal” states – and ask if they want to see similar results for our country.”