Dana Larsen: Trudeau Has Overseen Over 56,000 Pot Possession Arrests

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Dana Larsen: Trudeau Has Overseen Over 56,000 Pot Possession Arrests

Since Justin Trudeau became Prime Minister, I estimate that there have been over 56,000 “police reported incidents” of cannabis possession in Canada.

“Police reported incidents” is a term used by Statistics Canada, and is essentially synonymous with “arrests” in practical terms. Police virtually never file a report if there is no arrest made.

Note that these are not cases where people are being arrested for a more serious crime, and the police also find a joint in their pocket. These are “federal statute incidents reported by police, by most serious offence.” So in all these “incidents,” cannabis possession was the most serious “crime” being committed.

In the majority of cases, these possession arrests do not lead to charges. However, being arrested results in a police record, is humiliating for the person being arrested, wastes police resources, and reduces public respect for police.

Also, the possession laws are primarily enforced against minority and first nation Canadians. Bill Blair himself called the disproportional enforcement of cannabis laws “one of the great injustices in this country,” and complained about “the impact that it has on minority communities, aboriginal communities and those in our most vulnerable neighbourhoods.” Yet still arrests continue.

Statistics for 2016 won’t be available for a few more months, but I derived the 56,000 figure as an educated guess based on numbers from 2015 and previous years.

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