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More than half of those who have never tried cannabis are in favour of legalization, and regard it as a good revenue generator for governments.

Vancouver, BC – Most Canadians believe it is time to legalize marijuana, including many who have never actually used it, a new Canada-wide Insights West poll has found.

In the online survey of a representative national sample, three-in-four Canadians (76%) say they are “very familiar” or “somewhat familiar” with discussions related to marijuana legalization.

Across the country, 65% of Canadians support legalizing marijuana, while 30% are opposed to this course of action. Support of legalization is similar across all age groups (66% for those aged 18-to-34, 67% for those aged 35-to-54 and 65% for those aged 55 and over).

Canadians who use marijuana regularly (98%) or casually (96%) overwhelmingly support legalization, along with 68% who claim to have tried it “only once” and 51% who have never used it.


“While those Canadians who use marijuana often are decidedly supportive of legalization, they are not the only ones who perceive benefits,” says Mario Canseco, Vice President, Public Affairs, at Insights West. “The high level of support for legalization is also driven by Canadians who have never used marijuana and those who perceive benefits in the form of increased government revenues.”

Canadians who plan to vote for the Conservative Party in this month’s federal election are less likely to support marijuana legalization (42%) than those who intend to cast a ballot for the New Democratic Party (NDP) (83%), the Green Party (75%) or the Liberal Party (72%).

When shown several arguments for legalization, more than two thirds of Canadians believe that taxing marijuana would generate revenues that can be used to benefit all Canadians (76%), that legalization would allow police to focus on other things (70%) and that it will not lead to all drugs becoming available (67%). More than four-in-five Canadians (85%) also think marijuana has legitimate health benefits.

A majority of Canadians think drug prohibition has failed (60%), that legalization would decrease gang violence (56%) and that it makes sense to make marijuana legal because many Canadians enjoy it (50%).

Among the arguments against legalization, three-in-five Canadians (59%) worry about more cases of impaired driving due to marijuana use, and half are concerned about legalization leading to more widespread use (52%) and use among children and teenagers (50%).

Fewer Canadians regard marijuana as a harmful substance (47%) and as a gateway drug that leads people to try other, more dangerous substances (45%). Two-in-five (38%) are concerned about increased risks for mental illnesses, and 37% believe it is time to shut down the marijuana dispensaries and for Canadians who need medical marijuana to get it through the federally regulated system.

About Insights West:

Insights West is a progressive, Western-based, full-service marketing research company. It exists to serve the market with insights-driven research solutions and interpretive analysis through leading-edge tools, normative databases, and senior-level expertise across a broad range of public and private sector organizations. Insights West is based in Vancouver and Calgary.

About this Release:

Results are based on an online study conducted from September 14 to September 21, 2015, among a representative sample of 952 Canadian adults. The data has been statistically weighted according to Canadian census figures for age, gender and region. The margin of error—which measures sample variability—is +/- 3.2 percentage points. Click here to view the detailed data tabulations.

For further information, please contact:

Mario Canseco
Vice President, Public Affairs, Insights West


Photograph: Dank Depot