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Canadian Politicians Finally Catch Up To Public Opinion On Pot

Marijuana legalization is long overdue, according to polls stretching back nearly a decade.

In 2007, Angus Reid released a poll suggesting that 55 percent of Canadians favored legalization. Since then, the pollster's numbers have dipped as low as 50 percent (2010) and as high as 59 percent (in 2014). But the call to end prohibition remained the majority opinion.

EKOS found that a plurality - but not a majority - of Canadians supported legalization as early as the year 2000. A decade later, that number had grown to 50 percent and then reached 66 percent in 2012.

But things weren't always that way. As recently as 1997, Environics reported that most Canadians were opposed to legalization. And 20 years prior, a strong majority of Canadians (77 percent) opposed legalization while only 19 percent voiced support.

Canadians have supported decriminalization for decades

Sergei Bachlakov / Shutterstock

But support for decriminalization has been strong since at least 1970 when Gallup found that those opposed led those in favor by a narrow margin of 45-41 percent. So that may have been some indication that Canadians would eventually soften their views on legalization.

It's difficult to pinpoint exactly when the majority of Canadians got on board with legalization, but there's no doubt about the popular support for ending prohibition now. In October 2015, Forum Research pegged support for legalization at around 59 percent. Shortly after Justin Trudeau won the Canadian federal election (while promising to legalize cannabis), EKOS reported that about 67 percent of Canadians supported legalization.

And most want it legalized within the next year.

So when Trudeau officially ends cannabis prohibition, he'll be catching up with the times rather than leading the charge.

h/t The Globe and Mail, CBC

banner image: Day Donaldson via Flickr


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