(Angus Reid Global Monitor) – Many adults in Canada believe marijuana should be legalized, according to a poll by Angus Reid Public Opinion. 53 per cent of respondents agree with this idea.

Less than seven per cent of respondents want other drugs—such as ecstasy, powder cocaine, heroin, crack cocaine and crystal meth—to be legalized.

In July 2002, Canada became the first nation in the world to regulate the consumption of cannabis for medical reasons. In the 2004 federal election, the Marijuana party—which seeks the outright legalization of the substance—received 0.3 per cent of the popular vote.

In November 2004, the Canadian federal government—headed at the time by Liberal prime minister Paul Martin—re-introduced a controversial bill that sought "alternate penalty frameworks" for the possession of small amounts of marijuana. The bill, which would have allowed any person caught with 15 grams of the drug or less to face fines instead of criminal charges, was never put to a vote in the House of Commons.

On Mar. 16, Canadian prime minister Stephen Harper appeared on YouTube and answered several questions previously submitted by Canadians. On the topic of marijuana legalization, Harper declared: "I understand that people defend the use of drugs, but that said (…) I think I’ve been very fortunate to live a drug-free life, and I don’t meet many people who’ve led a drug-free life who regret it. Met a lot of people who haven’t, who’ve regretted it. So this is something that we want to encourage obviously for our children, for everybody’s children."

Polling Data

Do you support or oppose the legalization of each of the following drugs? – "Strongly support" and "Moderately support" listed

 

Apr. 2010

May 2008

Marijuana

53%

53%

Ecstasy

6%

9%

Crack cocaine

5%

8%

Powder cocaine

5%

9%

Heroin

5%

8%

Methamphetamine or "crystal meth"

4%

7%

Source: Angus Reid Public Opinion
Methodology: Online interviews with 1,010 Canadian adults, conducted on Apr. 8 and Apr. 9, 2010. Margin of error is 3.1 per cent.

Complete Poll (PDF)