The B.C. government says a recent survey shows positive changes in behaviour among cannabis consumers, including more responsible use and fewer people purchasing from unlicensed sellers.
According to the province, the survey results show a significant decrease in the number of consumers who report buying from an unlicensed store - from 56 per cent in 2018 to 17 per cent in 2021, with 71 per cent of consumers reporting purchasing from licensed retailers.
The findings also suggest that most people in B.C. who choose to use cannabis are doing so responsibly.
“This comprehensive report gives us important information directly from people in British Columbia on their opinions and habits surrounding cannabis use,” said Mike Farnworth, Minister of Public Safety and Solicitor General, in a news release. “From how it may impact their daily lives to perceptions around cannabis use and driving, it's important for us to know this information so we can support a strong cannabis sector in B.C., while continuing to keep public health and safety the cornerstone of our policies.”
The government noted that the 2021 B.C. Cannabis Use Survey followed up on an initial survey conducted in 2018 and is one of the first large-scale provincial studies assessing changes in cannabis behaviours and perceptions.
During a City of Delta public hearing on two applications to open cannabis stores in Tsawwassen in April, Delta Police Chief Neil Dubord said his department liaised with other police departments of municipalities of comparable population who have retail cannabis stores, seeking feedback on their experiences in policing since the opening of the stores.
DPD Supt. Guy Leeson told council the Abbotsford Police Department reported no police or community concern since the opening of the two retail cannabis stores in that city. In fact, Abbotsford Police reported that the stores have helped eliminate a number of illegal drug sales within their community.
Leeson also noted cannabis retail stores in other municipalities are already actively delivering cannabis products to Delta residents.
He also said the legalization of cannabis has not significantly increased impaired driving in Delta, which is consistent with the findings from the National Drug Recognition Export Coordinator for the RCMP.
Delta Police will report back in early 2023 on any concerns related to the approved retail cannabis operations in the city, statistics on the use of cannabis obtained illegally and whether that figure has decreased since legalization, as well as the police department's calls for service for clandestine production operations.
To date, the City of Delta has received nine cannabis dispensary applications, with council approving eight of the applications.
Those retail stores will be spread out among Ladner, Tsawwassen, North Delta as well as Annacis Island.
The last application that has not made it to council for consideration is a proposal by 4Twenty Cannabis to open a dispensary in an industrial area in Tilbury at 7550 River Road.