Calgary

Pot possession charges 3 times more frequent in Edmonton than Calgary

Police in Edmonton laid nearly three times as many charges for possession of marijuana in 2014 than their counterparts in Calgary.

CBC News analyzed Statistic Canada numbers on marijuana possession charges in 34 Canadian cities

Statistics Canada's study suggests 37 out of every 100,000 Calgarians faced charges for pot possession in 2014, a number that jumped to 94 in Edmonton. (CBC)

Police in Edmonton laid nearly three times as many charges for possession of marijuana in 2014 than their counterparts in Calgary.

It's just one finding of a CBC News analysis of the latest data from Statistics Canada on charges for pot possession in 34 Canadian cities.

The per capita numbers show 37 out of 100,000 Calgarians faced charges for pot possession in 2014, a number that jumped to 94 in Edmonton.

The statistics show Kelowna registered the most charges last year, with St. John's logging the fewest.

"Looking at British Columbia, it's no surprise that the Okanagan region sees higher levels, but there's a lot of illegal grows that are going on there," said Mount Royal University criminologist Kelly Sundberg. 

He says the gap between Alberta's largest cities could be due to realities on the street.

(CBC News Graphics)

Different attitudes?

"The attitudes between the police in Calgary and Edmonton may be a part of this but there might be ... different drugs being used in Calgary as opposed to Edmonton," he said. 

Calgary cannabis activist Keith Fagin says lower numbers in some cities may also boil down to more officers using discretion.

"It's a 14-year-old, or it's a 16-year-old, or it's an adult trying to get an education and become something," he said.

Sundberg says many opinions towards cannabis have liberalized in Canada, but the numbers show Canada-wide marijuana possession charges rose about 30 per cent between 2006 and 2014 as the federal government took a tougher line on drug possession.

Both the Calgary and Edmonton police services have declined to do interviews.

(CBC News Graphics)
(CBC News Graphics)

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