A new poll from Insights West showed most Canadians support cannabis legalization, even if they’ve never used it.
The results, released Oct. 1, showed 65 per cent of respondents from across the country want cannabis legalized. Included in that support are the majority of non-users (51 per cent in favour of legalization) and those that have only used once (68 per cent in favour).
Regular users supported legalization by 98 per cent, and casual users by 96 per cent.
“While those Canadians who use marijuana often are decidedly supportive of legalization, they are not the only ones who perceive benefits,” said Insights West public affairs vice president Mario Canseco. “The high level of support for legalization is also driven by Canadians who have never used marijuana and those who perceive benefits in the form of increased government revenues.”
Over two-thirds of those polled said taxing cannabis products would generate beneficial revenues (76 per cent) and free police resources to focus on other areas (70 per cent).
More than four-in-five Canadians (85 per cent) think cannabis has legitimate health benefits.
Support for legalization was virtually the same throughout age demographics. Those aged 18–34 were 66 per cent in favour, 67 per cent for those aged 35–54 and 65 per cent for Canadians over 55.
The upcoming federal election has had cannabis reform as a point of discussion for all major political parties and Canadians have taken notice. Three-in-four people said they “very familiar” or “somewhat familiar” with discussions related to cannabis legalization.
Across party lines, those who plan to vote Conservative are the least likely to support cannabis legalization (42 per cent) followed by 72 per cent of those who said they’re voting Liberal, 75 per cent for the Green Party and 83 per cent for the NDP.
The Liberals and Greens are the only parties that have said they will end prohibition on cannabis after assuming office. The NDP favour decriminalization and the Conservatives are against any softening of policy toward recreational use.
The incumbent Conservative Party’s stance on drug crime wasn’t reflected in the views of those polled. A majority of Canadians (60 per cent) said prohibition has failed in this country, and that gang activity would decrease if cannabis is legalized (56 per cent).
Among arguments against cannabis legalization, three-in-five Canadians (59 per cent) worry about more cases of impaired driving due to its use, and half are concerned about legalization leading to more widespread use among children and teenagers (50 per cent).