Article by Jonny Wakefield, Edmonton Journal
Alberta’s mountain parks had the province’s highest per capita cannabis violation rates last year — a statistical anomaly the RCMP attribute to small local populations beefed up by influxes of tourists.
The rural area policed by Lake Louise RCMP had Alberta’s highest rate of cannabis offences last year with 5,075 per 100,000 population.
Lake Louise is home to about 1,000 people but often has many times that number during peak tourism seasons.
Jasper, meanwhile, saw 2,158 cannabis violations per 100,000 — the second highest among rural areas.
Among municipal RCMP forces, Banff had the greatest number of marijuana possession, trafficking, production and import/export offences last year — 901 per 100,000.
Overall cannabis violations declined year over year in 2017 as the federal government moves to legalize the drug, according to police-reported crime data Statistics Canada released Monday.
RCMP Cpl. Laurel Scott said the mountain parks have such high cannabis violation rates in part because of the gap between their official, year-round populations and the large number of tourists who visit.