Majority of Canadians say legal age to obtain cannabis should be 21

By Dilshad Burman

A new poll reveals that three quarters of Canadians want the legal age for obtaining marijuana to be 21.

The survey conducted by Postmedia/Dart Insight found that 76 per cent of Canadians want the higher age limit. The feeling was strongest among respondents in Quebec, with 82 per cent in favour.

As per federal law, the minimum age to obtain legal pot in Canada is 18, but individual provinces and territories are responsible for determining age restrictions in their jurisdictions.

The incoming Quebec government has already said it plans to raise the legal age for smoking cannabis to 21, with Prime Minister Trudeau cautioning that it could leave an opening for organized crime. The legal age in Ontario is set to 19.

According to Postmedia/Dart, the finding suggests that there is “real intensity” about the issue in the country. Compared to most issues surveyed, the response to this topic is “very intense and often not witnessed on issue-related public opinion soundings.”

The survey says the desire to increase the legal age cuts across all political stripes and most demographics and socioeconomic categories. The only marked difference was 79 per cent women versus 72 per cent of men and 81 per cent of older Canadians (55+) versus 71 per cent of younger Canadians (18-34) agreed with the age increase.

Along with raising legal age, the survey also found that around half of Canadians would back their municipality if it wanted to opt out of allowing marijuana stores to operate within it’s boundaries.

Fifty three per cent say they would support the idea of banning marijuana sales outlets in their respective municipalities, with middle-aged and older men being most likely to do so. Quebec topped the list, with 63 per cent of respondents saying they would be for the move.

When it comes to whether legalizing marijuana is a good thing, the numbers are also evenly split.

Fifty two per cent of Canadians feel legalization will do more harm than good, with 48 per cent sitting on the opposite side of the fence. Once again, those who feel legalization will have a negative impact are most likely to be from Quebec, standing at 64 per cent.

In addition, the survey also provides a profile of those who are likely to partake in legal marijuana.

It says 24 per cent of Canadians say they will use cannabis when it becomes legal and one in 10 said they will “very much” partake.

According to the survey, that 10 per cent is a “realistic core consumer group” and can be categorized demographically as follows:

• 11 per cent female, nine per cent male
• 19 per cent aged 18-34, 11 per cent aged 35-54 and four percent aged 55 and older
• 15 percent earn less than $50,000 household income per year, nine percent earn more than $100,000 per year and eight percent earn between $50,000 and $99,000 per year.
• 13 percent have technical school/college educations, 9 percent have University level or higher and eight per cent have high
school level or less education.
• Geographically, the core group is most likely to reside in Ontario (14 per cent) followed by those in
Alberta and British Columbia (nine per cent), Atlantic Canada (eight percent), Saskatchewan/Manitoba (seven percent) and
Québec (six percent).

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