In a random sampling of public opinion from just under 1400 adults, the poll showed that most Canadians are in favour of the federal government’s plan to regulate and legalize recreational cannabis, but opinions are split on what to do afterwards.
Forty per cent of Canadians think cannabis should be grown by large companies and sold through government agencies, like liquor stores, while just 15 per cent believe individuals should be able to grow and distribute the plant as they like, with a similar amount of respondents hoping for a combination of the two models.
Current cannabis users were nearly equally split on opinions of the corporate model (31 per cent), the individual model (33 per cent) or some sort of combination (28 per cent). Nine per cent of current cannabis users don’t want to see any system of legal distribution, at all.
When asked where revenues from legal cannabis taxation should go, most answered that they would like to see the money put toward the country’s debt (21 per cent), with the next most popular answer being addiction treatment (17 per cent).
Forum Research president and founder Dr. Lorne Bozinoff said the poll focused on the next steps of regulation as citizens’ views on cannabis are developing with legalization now moving forward.
“It appears, while the solid citizens of Canada see the benefits of legalizing marijuana, and can already see where some of the taxes might go, they are cautious about opening up production and distribution too much,” said Bozinoff.
More Canadians have also said they plan to use cannabis as it becomes legal, recreationally. Twenty four per cent of those surveyed said they will use it in the future, once the plant is legalized.
Bozinoff said with legalization now decided, opinion is much more mixed on what to do next.
“People have been focused in on the basic issue of whether it should be legalized or not. Now that this government is in office, and they said they’re going ahead with it, people are just now starting to think about implementation so I think things could change,” said Bozinoff. “I don’t even think the government’s sure how it should be implemented yet so I expect some changes because of that.”
Twenty two per cent of those that want cannabis legalized said it should happen immediately, with 15 per cent wanting to wait for legalization in the next few months or 14 per cent hoping for legalization within the next year.
Roughly a quarter of Canadians (24 per cent) still think cannabis should never be legalized.