Cannabis Legalization Is Losing Support Among Canadians, Says New Survey

Cannabis legalization is losing support among Canadians, according to a new survey. Back in 2017, when the federal government was working on reforming Canada's marijuana laws, more than two-thirds of Canadians (68.6) percent supported legalization. But now, six months after the new laws took effect, support for cannabis legalization has fallen to 50.1 percent, according to a new survey led by Dalhousie University professor Sylvain Charlebois. 

Charlebois believes the biggest reason for the drop in support for legal cannabis can be blamed on the federal government.  Health Canada just hasn't done a great job of actually "explaining to people what cannabis is." And, in their "obsess[ion] with the idea of limiting risks" of cannabis use, the government has made marijuana "very boring."

"A few years ago, the Liberals invited Canada to a huge party with balloons, great music, great fun—only to end up in a very boring room with classical music," Charlebois told CTV News.

The plunge in support is also due to various logistical problems that have plagued the new industry, explained Charlebois. His survey showed that 60.4 percent of Canadian cannabis consumers continue to frequent the black market, either because the products they want aren't available legally (e.g. edibles), or are more expensive than what consumers are used to.

"Perhaps some of these people were expecting higher quality products at an affordable price but we are seeing some indication that the legal price is much higher than the illegal one in many markets," Charlebois told CP24.

And, of course, some Canadians remain opposed to marijuana because stigmas surrounding cannabis till persist in Canada. Charlebois' survey found that 18.8 percent of respondents don't want people to see them buying cannabis. Meanwhile, 26.2 percent said they wouldn't want their co-workers to know they enjoy a puff now and then, and 33.8 percent said they wouldn't want to work with somebody who was a regular consumer.

"We're far, far away from seeing cannabis becoming socially normalized—we're actually quite a few years away," Charlebois said.

Despite this, things aren't all bad for legal cannabis in Canada. Health Canada recently reported that the number of new cannabis consumers nearly doubled between this year and last. Many of those new consumers are Canadians in the 45-plus crowd.

So more Canadians are trying cannabis, but they don't want to be open about it.

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