Peo­ple in Halifax con­sume the most cannabis, data sug­gests

The Peterborough Examiner - - Canada & World - ALEX COOKE

HALIFAX — A new study from Statis­tics Canada draws data from an un­ex­pected source to sug­gest Halifax has the high­est rate of cannabis con­sump­tion per capita among five ur­ban cen­tres.

The na­tional statis­tics agency launched its study in March, us­ing a rel­a­tively new tech­nol­ogy called waste­water-based epi­demi­ol­ogy.

Re­searchers an­a­lyzed waste­water from 15 treat­ment plants across Halifax, Montreal, Toronto, Edmonton and Van­cou­ver to pro­duce data on cannabis use.

The re­sults sug­gest that be­tween March and Au­gust, Halifax had the high­est rate of con­sump­tion per capita, at 1,310 mi­cro­grams per per­son per week, with Montreal com­ing in sec­ond at 976.

Toronto came in at 451 mi­cro­grams per per­son per week, Edmonton at 416, and Van­cou­ver at 288. In to­tal, the ar­eas sur­veyed rep­re­sent nearly 8.4 mil­lion Cana­di­ans.

StatCan noted there were of­ten large dis­par­i­ties in the amount of cannabis de­tected month-tomonth, and stressed that its re­sults are con­sid­ered “pre­lim­i­nary and ex­per­i­men­tal.

“Statis­tics Canada is still ex­plor­ing the ben­e­fits and lim­its of us­ing WBE to pro­duce statis­tics on drug use,” a re­cent StatCan re­port reads.

“Sub­se­quent tests and re­sults will al­low the agency to bet­ter as­sess the long-term fea­si­bil­ity of us­ing waste­water as an of­fi­cial data source.”

The study was launched amid con­cerns that Cana­di­ans may be un­der-re­port­ing cannabis use due to stigma and re­luc­tance to dis­close pur­chases from “non­reg­u­lated sup­pli­ers.”

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