Most citizens of the Yukon support Canada’s decision to legalize cannabis for recreational use, according to a new survey that sheds some long-awaited light on how the country’s territories are preparing for next summer’s dramatic changes.
The results of a Yukon government survey conducted earlier this year found that 81 percent of Yukoners support the federal move to legalize cannabis. This was the territory's most successful cannabis survey to date, with 3,172 people responding to at least some of the questions.
The findings will help government officials develop legislation on how and where cannabis will be used and sold in the territory once nationwide legalization goes into effect in July.
"We'll be using the input that we received to inform that process," said Patricia Randell, director of cannabis implementation and education with Yukon's department of justice.
"It was a high level of response from Yukoners, and it certainly showed us that there was a level of interest in this file."
About 75 percent of Yukoners who participated in the survey agreed that smoking or eating cannabis recreationally is acceptable. That said, 58 percent believe there should be restrictions on public cannabis consumption, with more than 57 percent saying regulations should mirror those for tobacco.
Roughly 77 percent said it’s alright for people to smoke cannabis on private properties, but 73 percent said special regulations may be required for apartments buildings.
When it comes to driving under the influence, 87 percent called for “zero tolerance” of drug use among those driving commercial vehicles.
An overwhelming majority of respondents said it's essential to keep cannabis away form minors, with 82 percent calling on the government to discourage sales to young people via added enforcement measures.
"As we develop the legislation, we will continue to consider the impacts associated with the normalization of cannabis — particularly as it relates to its effects on youth, pregnant women, and those at risk of psychosis or cardiovascular disease,” said Health Minister Pauline Frost in a press release.
About 45 percent of Yukoners believe the minimum age for using, buying or growing cannabis should be 19. A majority of respondents – 58 percent – support online sales and home delivery, while 51 percent like the idea of a hybrid retail framework.
Finally, education proved important to Yukoners who responded to the survey, with more than 70 percent supporting the implementation of educational initiatives in stores, medical offices and schools.
Canada’s territories have lagged behind much of the country in terms of presenting their plans for nationwide legalization. All three territories – Yukon, Nunavut, and the Northwest Territories – committed to community consultations on cannabis in one form or another.
h/t CBC News