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A new survey released by Insights West shows that the majority of British Columbians support the legalization of marijuana.
The poll finds that the notion of legalizing and taxing marijuana is very popular in British Columbia, although concerns over an increase in cases of impaired driving persist. The online survey shows that two thirds of adults in the province (67 per cent) say they support the legalization of marijuana in Canada. Those aged 18 to 34 were 72 per cent in support of the legalization, while Vancouver Island residents were most likely to agree with the decision to regulate marijuana.
More than four-in-five residents (84 per cent) say they are familiar with discussions related to marijuana legalization. Only seven per cent of British Columbians think marijuana should always be illegal. Across the province, 87 per cent of residents believe taxing marijuana would generate revenues that could be used to benefit all Canadians. Almost four-in-five British Columbians also think dispensaries are a safer way to sell marijuana (78 per cent) and believe marijuana has legitimate health benefits (also 78 per cent).
While many were in favour of legalizing the drug, there were strong opinions regarding impaired driving and the negative effects associated with legalization. More than half of British Columbians believe legalizing marijuana will lead to both an increase in impaired driving (58 per cent) and more widespread use (55 per cent), while half (51 per cent) classify it as a “harmful substance.”
“The notion of taxing marijuana sales to generate revenues that can be invested back into the community is popular even among residents who do not favour legalization,” said Mario Canseco, Vice President, Public Affairs, at Insights West. “On the other hand, even residents who would like to see marijuana legalized are concerned over a possible increase in cases of impaired driving.”
Smaller proportions of British Columbians think legalization will lead to more children and teenagers using marijuana (45 per cent), as well as increased risks for mental illnesses (33 per cent). Two-in-five residents (39 per cent) consider marijuana a “gateway drug” that leads people to try other, more dangerous drugs.
Just over a third of residents (35 per cent) believe that all marijuana dispensaries should shut down, and say Canadians who need medical marijuana can get it through the federally regulated system.