When newly minted Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau promised to legalize cannabis during the recent election campaign, it turns out he was preaching to the choir.
A new Forum Research poll found that 59 percent of Canadians favor legalization - a six percent increase from a similar poll conducted in late August. A lot has changed since the summer, says Forum president Lorne Bozinoff.
"Now that marijuana legalization is a likelihood rather than a vague promise, Canadians are considering the issue more closely than in the past," he said in a press release. "They are just as much in favour of legalization as they were before the election, if not more, but they want to see it strictly licensed and controlled, not grown in basements and sold in corner stores."
Participants were asked if they approved of Trudeau's promise to "legalize, regulate and tax marijuana, restricting its sale to adults 18 and over."
Legalization is broadly supported across the country
The strongest support came from the Atlantic Canadian provinces, where 75 percent of respondents favored legalization. The Liberals swept the Atlantic Region in the recent election, winning all 32 seats. But the other provinces were also clearly in favor of legalization, ranging from 53 percent support in Manitoba and Saskatchewan to 68 percent in British Columbia.
Forum also found that almost a third of respondents either used cannabis recently or would if it were legal. That stat should make investors salivate for a piece of Canada's cannabis industry, which could be worth more than $5-billion, annually according to the Financial Post.
And corporations won't be the only ones profiting from the marijuana market. The National Post estimates that Canada could reap approximately $1-billion in provincial and federal taxes each year, if the Forum numbers are a true reflection of the Canadian appetite for legalization.