An EKOS Research Associates poll has found that half of all Canadians support marijuana decriminalization, while only 30% oppose it, with 20% apparently uncertain or without strong views on the matter. That's a 5% increase in support since EKSOS last polled on the issue a decade ago.
A notable aspect of the EKOS poll is the high number of undecideds. While opposition to decriminalization has been declining (down from 37% in 2000), uncertainty has also been increasing, up from 16% in 2000. Optimistically one hopes the new undecideds are former opponents.
Also notable about the EKOS poll is the political context. Canada is six years into Conservative rule, and Prime Minister Stephen Harper last week released a Youtube video in which he said he rejected marijuana legalization.
In the EKOS poll, the Conservatives were the only party with less than majority support for decriminalization at 39%. Some 63% of left-leaning New Democratic Party voters supported decrim, as did 59% of Green Party members, 58% of the Bloc Quebecois, and 53% of the main opposition party, the Liberals.
Regionally, support for decrim was strongest in British Columbia (54%), Ontario (53%), and Quebec (51%). Support was lowest in the prairie provinces of Alberta (45%) and Saskatchewan and Manitoba (45%).
Support for decriminalization was also strong among young people (58% for under-25s), and, while declining with age, was still above 50% for every age group except the over-65s. Among seniors, support declined to only 38%.
Harper and the Conservatives have been pushing a harder line on crime, drug offenses, and marijuana offenses in particular. This poll is only the latest indicator that the Conservative push may not be in line with public opinion.