How do Canadians’ Opinions on Legalized Cannabis Vary?

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How do Canadians’ opinions on legalized cannabis vary? We spoke to a public policy expert on how Canadians view cannabis today, and how this opinion is evolving.

Legalization of cannabis is a polarizing topic for Canadians. For the past decade, various polls by a myriad of public polling organizations has revealed a fairly constant return of just over 50 per cent of Canadians approving the legalization and sale of recreational cannabis. On the medical marijuana front, public opinion polling has shown an increase in support.

We spoke with public policy expert Will Stewart of Navigator, who compares evolving views on cannabis to social ideas on same-sex marriage.

“When you think how far and fast we’ve come on same sex marriage in Canada you can really see,” Stewart told Lift. He explains that fifteen years ago public opinion on same-sex marriage was largely negative, but that changed as court challenges mounted and the government pushed the issue forward.

Stewart expects the same to happen with cannabis. “Once it’s available for recreational use, once people around them start to consume it and talk a little more about it, it’s going to be a non-issue. But it’s going to take time, and it’s going to take the persistence of the industry to end the stigma.

 

Stewart also sees a public divided by a distinct metric: age.

“We only poll over 18, [but] the younger you are, the more likely you are to accept recreational use of cannabis. The older you are the more likely you are to say that has no place.”

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