A recent survey reveals 25 percent of Canadians think sugars and fats are more damaging than marijuana.
“Perceptions and attitudes about marijuana use have become more relaxed,”
said Rory McGee, research director at DIG Insights, Inc., the firm who conducted the survey.
“The fact that Canadians see marijuana use as less harmful than sugar and fat suggests that old stereotypes no longer ring true.”
The study also showed that:
- 19 percent of Canadians would use pot if it were legalized
- 15 percent already purchase pot from dispensaries, which exist in a legal grey area under Canadian law
- In terms of harmful substances, 33 percent viewed saturated fats as “very harmful.” That same criteria when applied to sugar, alcohol, and marijuana scored 25 percent, 19 percent and 18 percent, respectively.
- 51 percent of respondents thought cannabis can provide health benefits.
A separate survey by Campaign Research showed approximately 50 percent of Canadians are in favor of legalizing marijuana, and doing so by January 2018. Of the 1,970 participants in the survey, about one in five admitted to consuming cannabis within the past twelve months.
These surveys come on the heel of Canada’s announcement to legalize marijuana by July of 2018. The plan for legalization contains provisions for licensing growers, distributors and retail shops through federal regulation. Penalties for underage possession would be all but eliminated, but those caught selling to a minor will face harsher penalties post-legalization. Driving under the influence and taking cannabis to and from other countries will also face stricter punishments. Unlike legalized markets in the United States, Canadians would be able to purchase marijuana through mail order services, but only if local governments fail to establish distribution plans by July 2018.
Although the push for legalization has stemmed mostly from the Trudeau administration, their record for decriminalization still faces criticism. A brief for Canada’s public safety ministry proposes recourse for those with prior marijuana possession convictions as being “important to consider during the marijuana legalization discussions.” Federal Public Safety Minister Ralph Goodale stated those with previous pot convictions will not have their records expunged. Rather, records for those convictions could be erased, but only five years after a sentence has been served, and only if the charge was for possession of 30 grams of marijuana or less. This is a far cry from what Canadians convicted of marijuana possession are requesting, as these convictions significantly impact their employment, travel, and their families.
This post was originally published on April 21, 2017, it was updated on October 5, 2017.