Majority Pushes Legal Pot

Discussion in 'Marijuana News' started by Superjoint, Apr 28, 2003.

  1. By Jason Botchford, Special To The Free Press
    Source: London Free Press

    Public support to relax Canada's marijuana laws is rising quickly, finds a national poll that shows a decisive 83 per cent want pot prohibition to be less stringent. Only 14 per cent of respondents to the Sun-Leger poll said they support the status quo and think pot should remain illegal in all circumstances.
    "It seems that with just 14 per cent now saying it should be illegal, that's really saying people think changes need to be made soon in some way, shape or form," said Leslie Martin of Leger Marketing.

    The poll of 1,501 Canadians, conducted April 1-6, is considered accurate within 2.5 percentage points, 19 times out of 20.

    The poll comes as the federal government is preparing legislation to decriminalize possession of small quantities of marijuana, making it a summary offence instead of a criminal one.

    Previous polls in Canada have shown a steady increase in support for decriminalization and the use of marijuana for medicinal reasons. Nearly half have supported decriminalizing pot and a majority (about 60 per cent) have been in favour of marijuana being used medicinally.

    But to have 83 per cent wanting more relaxed laws was surprising, Martin said, especially when more than half the survey respondents had never even tried the drug.

    "I expected the number of people who thought the drug should be illegal to be higher," Martin said, "I expected people to say, 'I don't smoke pot, I've never smoked it, I wouldn't smoke it, so it should be illegal,' but that doesn't seem to be the case."

    "I think we are getting more and more people who are realizing the medical benefits," Martin said.

    The Sun-Leger poll asked respondents which of four statements best described their sentiments. Twenty per cent said marijuana should be legalized; 43 per cent said it should be legalized for medical purposes and 20 per cent said possession should be decriminalized. Only 14 per cent said it should always be illegal.

    Leger Marketing conducted a similar poll two years ago, providing people with only two choices: respondents could say they were in favour of a federal law legalizing the sale and use of pot or they were against it. In that poll, 47 per cent said they were not in favour of legalizing marijuana.

    "I think you can draw a comparison and note that people seem to be more ready now for changes to legislation," Martin said.

    Although most Canadians would like to see less- stringent marijuana laws, one-third believe smoking pot leads to harder drugs, such as heroin and cocaine, the poll found.


    Should be legal 20%

    Legal for medical purposes 43%

    Possession decriminaized/ Selling a crime 20%

    Should always be illegal 14%


    Never smoked 56%

    Smoked in past week 5%

    In past month 2%

    In past six months 2%

    In past year 3%

    In past 10 years 9%

    Not in past 10 years 22%

    Source: London Free Press (CN ON)
    Author: Jason Botchford, Special To The Free Press
    Published: Sunday, April 27, 2003
    Copyright: 2003 The London Free Press

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