Most Canadians Still Support Decriminalization of Pot

April 17, 2010 – A new poll shows the majority of Canadians support the legalizing of marijuana but not other, hard-core drugs. And nowhere is that support higher than in British Columbia, where more than six in 10 people say having a toke shouldn’t earn you a date with the courts. But the Angus Reid poll, released Thursday, also shows many Canadians believe there is a serious nationwide drug abuse problem and 70 per cent want mandatory minimum prison sentences and fines for drug dealers and marijuana grow operators. The poll supports the findings of Angus Reid polls in the past that showed most Canadians believe decriminalization of marijuana possession is appropriate, but that other illegal drugs should remain illegal. The online survey of 1,010 Canadians April 8-9 showed that support for legalization of hard drugs “is negligible,” but that the figure had even dropped since the polling company’s survey in 2008. The margin of error for the survey is plus or minus 3.1 per cent. The poll shows 83 per cent of Canadians agree with the federal government’s National Anti-Drug Strategy, including an awareness campaign to discourage young Canadians from using drugs. Seven in 10 people also support the call for mandatory prison sentences and large fines for grow operators and dealers. Conversely, slightly more than a third of Canadians support the idea of eliminating harm-reduction programs such as supervised injection sites and needle-exchange programs. In B.C., where the federal government is trying to close Vancouver’s Insite supervised injection site, 64 per cent of respondents said such programs should continue. Canadians also appear to be more convinced than two years ago that Canada now has a serious drug problem and that the problems are confined to specific areas and people. In May 2008, 15 per cent believed Canada does not have a serious drug abuse problem, compared to 11 per cent now. Forty per cent of respondents now believe the problem is confined to specific areas and people. In 2008 the figure was 35 per cent. Overall, the survey shows that 42 per cent of Canadians believe there is a serious drug abuse problem that affects the whole country. In B.C. and Alberta the rate is 48 per cent. Fewer than four in 10 people in Ontario and Quebec believe it’s a serious problem. But in Atlantic Canada and Manitoba/ Saskatchewan, the rate is 55 and 56 per cent, respectively.  Source.

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