OPINION: Michael Armstrong speaks to Danish audience about legalized cannabis

Associate Professor of Operations Research Michael Armstrong wrote a piece recently published in the Danish-language Berlingske newspaper about Canada’s experience with cannabis legalization.

He writes:

“Christiania’s recent troubles have renewed debates about Denmark’s cannabis regulations. Some observers have called for tougher penalties, while others have suggested decriminalization or legalization. Given this situation, it is useful to consider Canada’s experience with legalization.

Canada legalized recreational cannabis in October 2018. Initially, consumers complained about low product quality, high prices, and insufficient stores. 

But adults can now buy cannabis products from more than 3,500 licensed stores or grow their own plants. Product selection expanded to include dried cannabis, vapes, foods, and lotions. And prices dropped to as low as 3.57 Canadian dollars (18,50 Krone) per gram, taxes included.

Consequently, legal sales steadily grew. They now exceed 11.15 Canadian dollars (58 Krone) per capita each month.

Not surprisingly, overall cannabis use by adults increased too. In 2018, 14 per cent of adults reported using cannabis during the previous three months. That rose to 20 per cent in 2020.

Part of the usage increase was due to legalization. But part presumably represented people becoming more willing to admit to cannabis use. And part simply continued existing trends, as use has been increasing in Canada since 2011.

Fortunately, cannabis use by youths has shown no similar increase.”

The full article is available in Danish on the Berlingske website.

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