More than two-thirds of Canadians want cannabis laws relaxed, according to an opinion poll conducted for the federal government earlier this year.

Among the highlights:

  • 37.3 per cent say cannabis should be legalized.
  • 33.4 per cent say possession of small amounts of cannabis should be decriminalized with a fine rather than a criminal record.
  • Just 13.7 per cent say the country’s cannabis laws should stay the same.
  • 12 per cent said cannabis penalties should be increased.

The results were from a national survey of 3,000 people, commissioned by the Department of Justice. The poll suggested that Canadians aren’t happy with the status quo on cannabis. It found that many Canadians don’t think legalization would increase cannabis consumption in this country: 52.6 per cent believe cannabis use would “stay about the same” if legalized, 38.4 per cent say it would increase, and 6.3 per cent say it would decrease.

Meanwhile, Stephen Harper is campaigning on ignoring the results, telling Canadians that legalization is, “the wrong direction for society and I don’t think that’s the way most Canadians want to deal with this particular problem.”

Adding that, in those few states where cannabis has been legalized for recreational use, the plant has become “more readily available to children, more people become addicted,” with an overall decline in health and living standards.

Harper has promised a 20-per-cent increase in funding – to almost $27 million a year – to help the RCMP target cannabis farms and meth labs (ignoring that meth is a consequences of prohibition on cocaine and opium) as well as another $500,000 a year over four years on a phone-line people can call to get information about drug use.