Will Cannabis Legalization Work as Advertised? Canadians Aren’t Sure

Artice by The Leaf News

Will cannabis legalization work as advertised? Canadians aren't sure Canadians are skeptical that legalization will reduce youth access to marijuana, according to a new survey. (Adrian Wyld / The Canadian Press files)

New polling suggests Canadians are skeptical that cannabis legalization will actually achieve the government’s key goal of keeping the drug away from youth.

Fifty-seven per cent of Canadians believe legalization will “fail to prevent kids from using even more pot once it is legal,” compared to just 17 per cent who agreed it will “succeed in discouraging marijuana use among young people,” according to a new Angus Reid Institute survey of 1,500 adult members of its proprietary online public opinion forum. (Twenty-six per cent of respondents weren’t sure how cannabis legalization would affect youth access.)

Even among respondents who support legalization, a plurality (41 per cent) believed it won’t prevent youth from using marijuana, although a slight majority of Canadians (55 per cent) said they’re more worried about kids drinking alcohol than smoking pot.

Higher levels of concern over youth alcohol use “does give us a sense of context… but I would suspect that for many parents, (cannabis legalization) is simply one more thing they might feel that they have to worry about, insofar as something they have to talk to their children about,” said Shachi Kurl, executive director of the Angus Reid Institute.

Reducing the black market in cannabis is another one of Ottawa’s stated goals in legalizing marijuana, but the Angus Reid Institute survey suggests opinion is split on whether that will actually happen.

A combined 48 per cent of respondents said “organized crime will not really be affected at all” or “won’t be affected much,” and 39 per cent said “organized crime will suffer a lot, but still find some ways to profit from the marijuana trade.” Just six per cent believed “organized crime is going to be cut out of the marijuana trade almost entirely.”

Public confidence in whether provincial governments will be ready for marijuana sales varied across the country, but that confidence was lowest in Ontario, where just 36 per cent of respondents felt the province would be prepared amid a delay in the rollout of retail cannabis stores. British Columbia is the only province where more respondents (48 per cent) felt the province would be ready to regulate marijuana sales than otherwise.

Read the full article here.

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