MONTREAL – One year after cannabis was legalized in Canada, the Sûreté du Québec (SQ) is painting a picture of how the law has changed the way the force does its work, both when it comes to investigations and road safety.

One of the things the SQ says it is working to reduce is the amount of illegal drugs smuggled into Quebec – including via online sources.

“The SQ maintains a constant pressure on individuals and groups involved in cannabis trafficking,” the force wrote in a statement Thursday.

Between Oct. 18, 2018 and Sept. 30, 2019, the SQ notes it opened 1,409 files related to the illegal production, supply and distribution of cannabis.

During that time, police conducted 1,458 searches and arrested 1,403 people.

The force boasts that, between August and September, it seized more than 71,500 plants and cuttings, as well as 161,000g of cannabis in bulk, 15,800g of oil and resin, 23,460 edibles and $180,000.

These operations were carried out across Quebec, in collaboration with local police services, the Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RCMP), the Canadian Armed Forces, as well as several public and legal agencies.

The SQ says it has also directed resources to catch people driving under the influence.

“More than 60 drug recognition agents (AERD) are distributed throughout the territory,” the force said.

“Ninety-three per cent of the police's patrol officers are trained to conduct Criminal Code coordination tests and may request drivers to submit to an assessment or a blood sample.”

The number of samples sent for analysis increased from 541 in 2015 to 795 in 2018, with cannabis detected in 46 per cent of cases.

The SQ estimates the number of specimens it will send to the lab will increase to 1,300 in 2019.

“Since legalization, the AERD has detected the presence of cannabis in 113 people arrested for impaired driving, compared to 73 people in the year prior,” the SQ states.

“This is one of the most commonly detected drugs on the territory.”

Anyone with information on contraband tobacco and cannabis can contact the SQ at 1-800-659-4264.