Article by Monique Scotti, Global News
Statistics Canada will be taking a somewhat creative approach to figuring out how much pot Canadians are actually consuming after the drug is legalized this summer.
Namely, testing the wastewater we flush down the toilet.
The agency issued a call for tender for the work on Monday morning, noting that wastewater in “perhaps 15 or 20” municipalities across the country will be tested on a monthly basis for “cannabis metabolites” and unnamed “other drugs.”
The analysis is expected to start before marijuana is legalized this July, and continue in the months following legalization.
It could provide the agency with a more accurate estimate of how much of the drug is actually being consumed than could be obtained through a traditional survey.
“It’s really important to start with good baseline data,” said former Toronto police chief Bill Blair, who is now parliamentary secretary to the minister of justice.
“So we’ve asked for the help of Statistics Canada to gather a lot of that data … we are committed to continue to measure, continue to evaluate and continue to respond to the evidence.”
The consumption of drugs leaves behind biomarkers in human waste. As toilets are flushed across communities, the levels of those markers in the wastewater rises.