This poll illustrates British Columbians overwhelming support for moving away from cannabis prohibition toward a system of regulation and taxation, and that lawmakers continue to lag far behind public opinion on revamping cannabis laws in B.C.
The survey, conducted between October 22 and 24, found that 75% of B.C. respondents support the taxation and regulation of cannabis over chasing and arresting cannabis producers and sellers, a jump of six percentage points from just one year ago.
“These results reveal a quite remarkable and growing dissatisfaction among British Columbians with the status quo and an eagerness for policymakers to pursue an entirely new approach to cannabis policy,” said Mario Canseco, Vice President, Angus Reid Public Opinion. “These beliefs cut across political, social and regional lines. I can’t think of any other issue where the laws on the books are inconsistent with the wishes of three-quarters of British Columbians.”
The poll results come a year after a similar Angus Reid survey, and demonstrate increasing public opinion that cannabis prohibition in B.C. has been ineffective and caused significant social harms and public safety issues, such as increased organized crime, gang violence and illegal marijuana grow ops.
Key Angus Reid poll data:
- Only 14% of British Columbians believe possession of a marijuana cigarette should lead to a criminal record, down from 20% one year ago
- 75% support the taxation and regulation of cannabis over chasing and arresting cannabis producers and sellers, an increase of six percentage points from 2011
- 74% would be comfortable living in a society where adult cannabis consumption was taxed and legally regulated under a public health framework, an increase of four percentage points from last year
- At 62%, fewer BC residents support decriminalizing marijuana use than the proportion that support outright taxation and regulation
The poll surveyed 799 respondents in B.C. The results have a margin of error of plus or minus 3.5 percentage points.
“From a scientific and public safety, making cannabis illegal has clearly been an expensive and harmful failure,” said Dr. Evan Wood, founder of Stop the Violence BC and Canada Research Chair in Inner City Medicine at UBC. “With 75% of British Columbians supporting change, and the status quo contributing to increasing harms in BC communities, it is absolutely time for politicians to catch up with the public.”