First-time cannabis use up after legalization, StatsCan reports

About 5.3 million people reported pot use in the last three months

More Canadians say they’ve used cannabis recreationally since it was legalized last fall, particularly those aged 45 to 64 and males, according to Statistics Canada. 

About 18 per cent of Canadians aged 15 and older, or about 5.3 million people, reported pot use in the last three months, the federal agency said in its quarterly report on Thursday.

Early indications point to more use right after it was legalized last October, when the reported use stood at 14 per cent.

“One of the things … unique with this survey is the number of respondents who said they’re using for the first time. So they started, in this case, in the post-legalization period,” said Michelle Rotermann, a senior analyst in Statistics Canada’s health analysis division.

In the first three months of 2018, about 330,000 Canadians said they’d tried cannabis for the first time. A year later, it was up to 650,000, she said.

J.F. Crépault, a senior policy analyst at the Centre for Addiction and Mental Health, says the Toronto facility wants to see if the initial spike in use translates into longer term, problematic use.

Following legalization in Colorado for instance, cannabis use spiked and then rates went back down to about the same as in surrounding states where it remains illegal, Crépault said.

Read More at CBC News

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