Councillors in the city of Prince Albert have just released their “alcohol strategy” report this week, which has been years in the making, in order to fight against underage drinking and binge drinking. The city is facing a serious issue in regards to the number of people drinking and getting arrested. Some of the councillors were surprised at one method of reducing drinking, which is legal cannabis use.
“I personally have concerns. I think it’s another one of the items that we have to deal with from a community addictions point of view,” said Councillor Rick Orr. The report also suggest other methods such as banning drive-thru liquor stores, restricting the hours an alcohol-serving business can be open, as well as educating the community of the dangers of drinking.
The city is spending a tremendous amount of money solely on public intoxication arrests, which make up 45% of all arrests. This new report says that it cost the city $2.5 million to arrest 5,595 from the period 2009 through 2012.
Researcher at the University of Saskatchewan, Lucas Richert, says that the idea of cannabis reducing the amount of drinking is something that should be talked about, although he is slightly skeptical. “I think that’s totally fair, and potentially useful. At the same time, certain cases demonstrate that marijuana legalization doesn’t lead to decreased alcohol consumption,” said Richert. We will keep following the developments of any new legislation by the city for this issue.