Canadian cannabis use jumped leading up to legalization, UN report says

A United Nations world drug report says more Canadians started using cannabis each year during the lead up to legalization.

The report says there was a 40 percent increase in recreational marijuana use between 2013 and 2017. This is attributed to a decrease in the perception of risk around cannabis use and the national debate around legalization.

The UN report also says the increase before legalization was more pronounced in adults age 20 or older, while it dropped among younger people. But, cannabis use overall is still higher among people between the ages of 15 and 24 than people who are 25 and older.

British Columbia has the highest rate of cannabis consumption among provinces, with 23 percent of the population saying they used cannabis in 2017. Nova Scotia and Manitoba also ranked above the national average of 15 percent.

The UN says it’s too early to assess the impact of recreational cannabis legalization in Canada and part of the U.S., but will continue to monitor early trends including the persistence of organized crime groups profiting from the drug.