Half of Canadians Want Relaxed Pot Law

Half of Canadians Want Relaxed Pot Law
Posted by CN Staff on January 02, 2003 at 08:03:46 PT
By Janice Tibbetts, Vancouver Sun 
Source: Vancouver Sun 
Ottawa -- Half of Canadians want the federal government to decriminalize possession of marijuana, and support for relaxed laws is not confined to the young. The new survey comes at a time when Justice Minister Martin Cauchon says he is going to remove simple pot possession from the Criminal Code, but his boss, Prime Minister Jean Chretien, isn't sure. 
"This is something that is against the law right now and you've got half the population saying let's decriminalize that," said Toronto pollster Michael Sullivan. "It certainly says that we are a relatively liberal society on this issue."The U.S. has also warned against decriminalization, saying Canada should get over its "reefer madness" if it doesn't want to face the wrath of its largest trading partner.The survey of 1,400 adult Canadians revealed 50 per cent either strongly or somewhat support decriminalization, while 47 per cent are somewhat or strongly opposed.The poll was conducted in the first half of November for Maclean's magazine, Global TV and The Vancouver Sun by the Strategic Counsel, a Toronto-based polling firm. The results are considered accurate to within 3.1 percentage points, 19 times out of 20.The survey showed 53 per cent of Canadians under 40 support looser laws, while 48 per cent of people aged 40 and older want to see marijuana decriminalized.Sullivan said there was less of an age gap than there is on other social issues, such as gay marriage and gay adoption."I guess we should think that marijuana smoking in general started in the 1960s, so a lot of people now who are 40 plus are people who may have tried marijuana in the '60s," he said.The survey also revealed men are more likely than women to favour relaxed laws and support is strongest among people with money.Fifty-three per cent of men said the government should act, compared to 48 per cent of women.The findings are different than they are for most social issues, in which women tend to be more liberal than men, Sullivan said."Is it that men are smoking more, that this is more of a risky activity?" Sullivan asked. "We know that men tend to be a little less risk adverse than women, so is that part of it?"Snipped:Complete Article: Source: Vancouver Sun (CN BC)Author: Janice Tibbetts, Vancouver Sun Published: Thursday, January 02, 2003Copyright: 2003 The Vancouver SunContact: sunletters pacpress.southam.caWebsite: Articles & Web Site:Cannabis News Canadian Links Legalize or Not to Legalize Suggest Legalizing Marijuana Report on Cannabis: Get Whole Story 
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Comment #6 posted by BGreen on January 02, 2003 at 17:29:04 PT
The Wording Of The Question
and the choice of possible answers could have led to the differences in this and previous polls.The mindset of the pollster due to personal bias or bias based on who commissioned the poll can skew the results.
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Comment #5 posted by CorvallisEric on January 02, 2003 at 17:21:55 PT
People simply don't understand "decriminalize"
[my writing is in blue, the quotes in black, to make it more readable] From the bottom of the article:The Strategic Council did not ask Canadians whether they support legalization of marijuana. Rather the survey dealt with decriminalization, which would still make possession illegal, but people caught would be given a fine akin to a parking ticket rather than saddled with a criminal record.
But Sullivan suspects many of those surveyed did not distinguish between decriminalization and legalization.
"They may not have got the nuance," he said. Like Sam Adams, I'm also suspicious of the low Quebec figure. Maybe something was lost in translating the poll question into French. There was an interesting exchange on a Yahoo News board; the article was on obesity and binge drinking (both way up in the US). First, one of the usual collections of "reasons why cannabis should be against the law" which are actually reasons why it should be legalized. It gets bonus points for having the "much more powerful" argument in the same paragraph with the "lung damage" argument:[deletions for clarity] I am not agreeing with the cannabis laws, but-1)Drugs are farmed and smuggled and distributed by organized crime syndicates at best, by terrorists at worst2)Start with cannabis and your friendly dealer offers you harder stuff eventually3)I've read that the stuff currently available is much more powerful than what was around 30 years ago, and can damage the lungs as bad as cigarettes4)Driving while under the influence of drugs is also damn dangerous5)Drug dealers kill each other, and innocent bystanders in turf disputes, collection disputes, etcThen, an excellent rebuttal by a Canadian, except for one little detail:Except for the part about being hazardous to your lungs... you're a little off-base.The 'gateway drug' theory is not very plausible.Sure... anybody who does heroin probably tried pot first. But most people who smoke dope don't 'graduate' to heroin.In fact... I believe the hysteria about pot adds to the problem.Kids hear the 'all drugs are bad' speech and then they try pot... and it's no big deal.This leads them to suspect that the admonitions and warnings about heroin and hard drugs must be bogus as well.Furthermore... if pot were decriminalized - any organized crime syndicate would be undercut.Don't believe me? Organized crime got its start because of prohibition.By the way... you can actually drive high with far less hazard than drunk - but I wouldn't recommend it.And people don't generally get wasted over pot deals... not unless the criminal element is so large and so much money is at stake... as a result of its being contraband which leads me to my previous point about decriminalization being the better route. And finally, my rant in response:I agree totally with the spirit of what you say,
but I have a major gripe about one single
word almost everyone seems to misunderstand.>>> Furthermore... if pot were decriminalized - any
organized crime syndicate would be undercut. If pot is "decriminalized," it means you
are not subject to criminal penalties
for possessing a limited quantity if
you're old enough. That is the way it's
defined in about 10 US states (but overridden
by Federal law), several Australian states,
and much of Western Europe. That's what
Canada's Justice Minister wants to do, causing
apoplexy among US drug warriers.Decriminalization makes California, in theory,
a more rational and humane place than Oklahoma.
In practice it doesn't mean much except to
a few unfortunate victims of Oklahoma's
insanely misguided priorities.Decriminalization does NOT, by itself,
create a legal market. It doesn't mean
that you can grow your own without criminal
penalty, even a single plant (some non-US
exceptions and some of the Canadian proposals).
Therefore it doesn't solve any of the problems
caused by the black market. Only the creation
of a legal market - possibly regulated like
alcohol - will solve that. This exists in screwy,
defacto, half-hearted ways in The Netherlands
and Switzerland.An important part of Prohibitionist propaganda,
which Drug Czar John Walters is so damned
good at, is to spread as much confusion as
possible about everything connected with
drug policy. It's "drugs" (implying meth, crack
and heroin) one minute and "marijuana"
the next; "legalization" in one sentence and
"decriminalization" in the next, as if they
were talking about the same things.
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Comment #4 posted by Sam Adams on January 02, 2003 at 08:40:17 PT
Found it!
Ah the unending river of lies, propaganda, doublespeak and brainwashing, C-News is like a low-hanging branch you can grab to pull yourself out....In 2001, 47% of all Canadians supported full they must have called all nursing homes for the above poll (wouldn't surprise me if they did)'m pretty sure both BC and Quebec were over 50% in favor of legalization
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Comment #3 posted by Sam Adams on January 02, 2003 at 08:30:09 PT
Seems VERY low
Wasn't there an exhaustive poll done last year showing around 70 or 80% in favor of decrim, and 47% in favor of full legalization? They broke it out by province, I remember that Quebec was 53% in favor of full legalization.Since this poll was conducted out of Toronto, I strongly suspect that they talked to more people from Ontario and central Canada. There's no way a poll in Quebec or BC would show only 50% for decrim, that's WAY too low.
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Comment #2 posted by TecHnoCult on January 02, 2003 at 08:25:45 PT
Why so low?
50/50? In the US, 72% favor decrim. I was sure Canada would also be as ready for change. Perhaps it's because Canada's laws aren't as harsh as ours?THC
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Comment #1 posted by Ethan Russo MD on January 02, 2003 at 08:12:23 PT:
Simple Analysis
Quite clearly, support for change occurs with progressive education on the issue.The Canadian Senate was extremely well educated on the subject, the House of Commons somewhat less, the public less still, although that is changing.Given a 50/50 split by the public, moving toward greater discretion, it makes perfect sense that there be legislative movement in a forward direction. Ignorance should not be allowed to prevail.
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