B.C. appetite for pot reform riding high: Poll

Two-thirds now endorse marijuana legalization, pollster says that number has climbed over the years

Support for legalization of marijuana has grown in B.C. over the years.

Support for legalization of marijuana has grown in B.C. over the years.

B.C. has a strong appetite for marijuana reform with more than 70 per cent of respondents to a new poll urging either legalization or decriminalization.

The Insights West survey found 67 per cent said they support outright legalization, 28 per cent opposed it and five per cent were undecided.

Support was slightly stronger among women, the under-35 age group and Vancouver Island residents, but at least 65 per cent back legalization in every region and within each age group.

“There’s a lot of support for this,” said Insights West vice-president Mario Canseco.

He said the results are a climb from about 55 per cent support in B.C. a decade ago, and follows legalization moves in U.S. states and a growing number of B.C. public figures endorsing reform over the years.

A separate question asked respondents which pot reform option most closely fit their views.

Legalization was on top with 38 per cent, while 24 per cent said it should be decriminalized, 27 per cent said it should only be available for medical purposes, and seven per cent want it to always be illegal.

Asked about the pros and cons of legalization, 87 per cent said taxing pot would generate useful revenues and more than three-quarters said cannabis has legitimate medical and health benefits, existing dispensaries are a safer method of access than drug dealers, and that legalization would let police focus on other priorities. Sixty-seven per cent believed gang violence tied to the illegal drug trade would decline.

Presented with a list of arguments against legalization, the top concern cited by 58 per cent was that it would result in more drug-impaired driving.

Relatively few (35 per cent or less) agreed with concerns expressed by federal Health Minister Rona Ambrose – that legalization would increase risks of mental illness such as schizophrenia in some users and lead to greater use among children and teens.

More than two-thirds of those polled endorsed the City of Vancouver decision to regulate existing medical marijuana dispensaries that sell pot illegally there rather than shut them down as Ambrose urged.

Canseco said the tough talk from Ambrose in recent weeks is likely aimed at buffing the Tories tough-on-crime reputation to hang onto Conservative votes elsewhere in Canada leading up to this fall’s federal election.

“I don’t think she was appealing to the B.C. voters,” he said. “I think she was appealing to the hard core Conservative base in other parts of the country that don’t want to see this legalized.”

Health Canada last week announced it will now let approved commercial producers of medical marijuana make and sell cannabis oil – in addition to dried bud – but not other edible products such as pot brownies and cookies.

That move followed a Supreme Court of Canada ruling in June that it is unconstitutional for the government to limit access to medical marijuana to just the dried form.

Just Posted

White Rock beach was buzzing with activity on Father’s Day. (Aaron Hinks photo)
PHOTOS: White Rock beach buzzing with activity on Father’s Day

High of 27C drew hundreds of people to the beach

This year’s Virtual Hike for Hospice raised just over $30,000 with the support of participants including Marlene. (Contributed photo)
PHOTOS: Virtual hike raises $30K for Peace Arch Hospice Society

Community support smashes fundraising goal

SFN councillor Joanne Charles, White Rock Mayor Darryl Walker and Coun. David Chesney listen to welcoming remarks from Chief Harley Chappell (Xwopokton). (FIle photo)
White Rock, SFN grieve together on National Indigenous Peoples Day

Residents encouraged to wear orange on Canada Day

Surrey RCMP are investigating after shots were fired at a white Jeep Saturday evening in Newton. (Shane MacKichan photo)
UPDATE: Surrey RCMP asking for video after shots fired in Newton

Surrey RCMP said a silver SUV shot at a white Jeep

A Grade 8 class at L.A. Matheson Secondary. March 2021. (Photo: Lauren Collins)
B.C.’s return-to-school plan good, but Surrey teachers hope there is room for adjustments

Surrey school district to receive $1.76M of the $25.6M provincial pandemic-related funding

Marco Mendicino, Minister of Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship during a press conference in Ottawa on Thursday, May 13, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Sean Kilpatrick
Canada to welcome 45,000 refugees this year, says immigration minister

Canada plans to increase persons admitted from 23,500 to 45,000 and expedite permanent residency applications

FILE – Most lanes remain closed at the Peace Arch border crossing into the U.S. from Canada, where the shared border has been closed for nonessential travel in an effort to prevent the spread of the coronavirus, Thursday, May 7, 2020, in Blaine, Wash. The restrictions at the border took effect March 21, while allowing trade and other travel deemed essential to continue. (AP Photo/Elaine Thompson)
Feds to issue update on border measures for fully vaccinated Canadians, permanent residents

Border with U.S. to remain closed to most until at least July 21

A portion of the George Road wildfire burns near Lytton, B.C. in this Friday, June 18, 2021 handout photo. THE CANADIAN PRESS/HO, BC Wildfire Service *MANDATORY CREDIT*
Blaze near Lytton spread across steep terrain, says BC Wildfire Service

Fire began Wednesday and is suspected to be human-caused, but remains under investigation

Cannabis bought in British Columbia (Ashley Wadhwani/Black Press Media)
Is it time to start thinking about greener ways to package cannabis?

Packaging suppliers are still figuring eco-friendly and affordable packaging options that fit the mandates of Cannabis Regulations

(Black Press Media files)
Burnaby RCMP look for witnesses in hit-and-run that left motorcyclist dead

Investigators believe that the suspect vehicle rear-ended the motorcycle before fleeing the scene

Blair Lebsack, owner of RGE RD restaurant, poses for a portrait in the dining room, in Edmonton, Friday, June 18, 2021. Canadian restaurants are having to find ways to deal with the rising cost of food. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jason Franson
Canadian restaurateurs grapple with rising food costs, menu prices expected to rise

Restaurants are a low margin industry, so there’s not a lot of room to work in additional costs

RCMP crest. (Black Press Media files)
Fort St. John man arrested after allegedly inviting sexual touching from children

Two children reported the incident to a trusted adult right away

A police pursuit involving Abbotsford Police ended in Langley Saturday night, June 20. (Black Press Media file)
Abbotsford Police pursuit ends in Langley with guns drawn

One person arrested, witnesses say an officer may have been hurt in collision with suspect vehicle

Most Read