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Canada: Poll Finds Majority Still Want to Legalize Marijuana, But Not Other Drugs

Submitted by Phillip Smith on (Issue #629)
Consequences of Prohibition
Politics & Advocacy

Marijuana legalization continues to garner majority support in Canada, with 53% of respondents to a new Angus-Reid poll saying they supported legalization. That figure is unchanged from the previous Angus-Reid poll on the issue two years ago.

Support for legalization was highest in pot-producing British Columbia (61%), neighboring Alberta (59%), and Canada's most populous province, Ontario (57%). Legalization had less than majority support only in the Atlantic provinces (47%) and the prairie provinces of Saskatchewan and Manitoba (34%).

But while supporting marijuana legalization, Canadians also indicated they support many of the Conservative government's anti-drug proposals. Most non-controversially, 83% supported introducing a National Drug Control Strategy with media campaigns aimed at stopping young people from using drugs. Even the government's draconian mandatory minimum sentence proposal for marijuana growers and drug dealers won 70% support.

What Canadians do not support is scrapping the previous government's marijuana decriminalization proposal or eliminating harm reduction programs, such as needle exchanges and the Vancouver safe injection site. Only 36% of respondents agreed with those measures.

While support for freeing the weed remains strong in Canada, support for legalizing other drugs, which was never very high, is declining. Only 6% supported legalizing ecstasy, 5% supported legalizing crack, powder cocaine or heroin, and only 4% supported legalizing methamphetamine. All of those figures represent a drop of a least three percentage points from the previous Angus-Reid poll on the issue in May 2008.

Declining support for drug legalization and support for government anti-drug measures may be a consequence of Canadians' fears that the country has a drug problem. Some 42% of respondents think Canada "has a serious drug problem that affects the whole country," while 40% said the problem is limited to certain locales and populations, and only 11% said Canada did not have a serious drug problem.

Permission to Reprint: This content is licensed under a modified Creative Commons Attribution license. Content of a purely educational nature in Drug War Chronicle appear courtesy of DRCNet Foundation, unless otherwise noted.


TheImpostor (not verified)

The Canadian attitude to drugs is a lot more liberated and intelligent than many other places, including here in the UK.
The trouble with many polls on attitudes to drug policy is that they use the shock-horror term 'legalization'. If they asked whether we should legally regulate the supply of drugs, or make certain drugs available on prescription to addicts (harm reduction), I think levels of public support for phasing out drug prohibition would come out as much higher. It's not just the answers that are important, it's how you ask the questions.

Fri, 04/23/2010 - 12:49pm Permalink
Grant (not verified)

They can legalize marijuana and regulate it and heavily tax it (but still less than obtaining it illegally). The profits from this regulation can go into anti-drug campaigns to try and convince teenagers not to start smoking. 

Sat, 02/12/2011 - 5:12pm Permalink
mike 420 (not verified)

i think that it is absolutely outrageous that the government has not legalized a helpful harmless herb. Studies in which indicted prohibition have been proven wrong. The only plausible point however is the gateway theory.the gateway theory is only applicable because marijuana is illegal. when people are forced to go through shady dealers to get their weed they are in contact with the cocaine and heroin dealers whom push their products, secondly when the schools and government lie to children about marijuana later to find out it has never killed anyone. and drugs like nicotine and alcohol run rampant. Countries like the Netherlands and Portugal which have basically legalized all drugs have successfully separated marijuana from "hard drugs" with decreases up to 50% in heroin users people. people have the right to chose what they put in their body.

It is time for legalization

Mon, 12/19/2011 - 9:47pm Permalink

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