Most Albertans Voice Support for Legalizing Marijuana

Seven-in-ten residents reject the notion that other countries would have to legalize marijuana before Canada changes its guidelines.

Calgary, AB – While roughly half of Albertans claim to have never tried marijuana, a majority of the province’s residents are in favour of legalization, a new Insights West poll has found.

In the online survey of a representative provincial sample, 52% of Albertans support the legalization of marijuana, while 42% are opposed.

Support for marijuana legalization is highest among men (61%) and residents aged 35-to-54 (57%), and lowest among women (45%) and residents aged 55 and over (47%).

When asked about other substances that are currently illegal, Albertans are decidedly unsupportive of change. Just 5% of residents would legalize ecstasy, heroin and powder cocaine, while 4% would be willing to legalize crack cocaine and crystal meth.

Across the province, 72% of residents disagree with the notion that marijuana should only be legal in Canada if it becomes legal in most of the world, and 50% think the fact that marijuana is now legal in some U.S. states does not make them more likely to support legalization in Canada.

“Albertans are looking at marijuana as a substance that is more akin to alcohol and tobacco than other illegal drugs,” says Mario Canseco, Vice President, Public Affairs, at Insights West. “Residents are leaning towards legalization, but do not appear to be swayed by what is happening south of the border.”

On the issue of “drug tourism”, 54% of Albertans disagree with the idea that Canada would become a safe haven for tourists who want to get high if marijuana use becomes legal.

A majority of residents also reject the idea that legalizing marijuana would make it harder for parents to talk to their children about drugs (55%). In addition, 54% believe Canada has the proper guidelines in place to make marijuana available for medicinal purposes.

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Across Alberta, 52% of residents report having seen somebody smoking marijuana in their municipality over the past month. However, 48% of residents say they have never tried marijuana themselves.

“Practically half of Albertans say they have never used marijuana, and the self-reported proportion of residents who have used it at least a few times a year is very small,” continues Canseco. “The level of support for legalization in Alberta is connected with economic reasons, rather than with personal enjoyment.”

About this Release:

Results are based on an online study conducted from July 15 to July 18, 2014, among 627 Albertans aged 18+ who are Your Insights panel members. YourInsights.ca is Insights West’s in-house access panel offering on-demand samples for both clients and research suppliers looking for Western Canadian populations. The data has been statistically weighted according to Canadian census figures for Alberta for age, gender and region. Results have a margin of error of +/- 4.0 percentage points, 19 times out of 20. Click here to view the detailed data tabulations for this study.

For further information, please contact:

Mario Canseco
Vice President, Public Affairs, Insights West
778-929-0490
mariocanseco@insightswest.com

 

Photograph: Brett Levin