A new research report has found that Canadians support marijuana legalization and consider cannabis use less harmful than both sugar and fat consumption.
Findings in a new study indicate that attitudes regarding the safety of cannabis use are shifting among Canadians. The extensive research survey, conducted by global research firm DIG Insights, investigated public attitudes on cannabis usage, legalization, and more. Among it’s findings was that the percentage of Canadians who believe cannabis use in “very harmful” (18 percent) is lower than the percentage of those who consider it dangerous to consume saturated fat (33 percent), processed sugar (25 percent), and alcohol (19 percent).
The Canadian government has announced it will legalize recreational marijuana by 2018. While regulations have yet to be announced, it’s expected that the government will follow the recommendations of a nine-person Cannabis Task Force to allow marijuana possession and cultivation for adults aged 18 and over.
“Our goal was to create a custom research study that would serve as a benchmark for the growing Cannabis industry, legislators and other interested parties,” said Rory McGee, research director of DIG Insights, Inc., in a statement.
About six-in-10 Canadians favor legalizing marijuana, according to the DIG Insights survey. Support was found to be highest among younger men (82 percent) and millennials overall (68 percent). Nearly one-in-four (24 percent) Canadians have used marijuana recreationally in the past year, and another 19 percent responded that they would use it if it were legal. Use was found to be highest among people aged 18 to 34 (34 percent).
Smoking was found to be the most common form of consumption, but 54 percent have reportedly tried edibles, and younger users were found more likely to have tried vaping.
Even among non-users, perceptions regarding cannabis use in Canada are shifting. The survey found that 51 percent of Canadians believe marijuana consumption can be beneficial, and just 33 percent believe that those who regularly use cannabis are less successful in life. Those who currently use marijuana responded they do so to help relax (24 percent) or reduce stress or anxiety (18 percent).
“What we are seeing is the law to legalize marijuana in Canada couldn’t come soon enough,” added McGee. “Perceptions and attitudes about marijuana use have become more relaxed. The fact that Canadians see marijuana use and less harmful than sugar and fat suggests that old stereotypes no longer ring true.”
Nearly half of Canadians using marijuana are purchasing it directly, while 27 percent say they get it from others and 24 percent report having a friend or family member who are qualified medical marijuana patients to purchase it at dispensaries on their behalf. Despite it not being legal, 80 percent of those who purchase marijuana feel safe when doing so and are not concerned about police intervention.
The DIG Insights survey polled 1,108 Canadians online between April 3 and April 7. You can access the interactive Multimedia News Release here.