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  • Post Time Posted May 09, 2019
A new survey suggests Canadians have become less accepting of recreational cannabis since 2017, despite legalization last October.

Researchers at Dalhousie University say they’re surprised by the findings, which also suggest a high degree of stigma persists.

While the majority of Canadians still support legalization, the research suggests support has dropped to 50.1% from 68.6% in 2017.

Meanwhile, the number of people who neither agree nor disagree with legalization appears to have increased to 20.3% from 6.9%.

Lead author Sylvain Charlebois says respondents also reported concern over the risks cannabis pose to children, young adults and pets who may have more access to cannabis products.

The survey questioned 1,051 adults over four days in April and has an estimated margin of error 3.1%, 19 times out of 20. It’s a followup to a 2017 survey on attitudes surrounding cannabis before legalization.

“I think the study actually points to the fact that Candians are still cannabis-illiterate, to a certain extent,” Charlebois says in a recent interview.

“A lot has to do with messaging, how governments have been engaging with the public. The focus has been on distribution, of course, and keeping Canadians protected, I guess, but I would say that Health Canada really hasn’t done a good job in explaining to people what is cannabis, what cannabinoids are.”

Then there are the media stories about children being hospitalized after inadvertently ingesting cannabis, and reports about pets falling ill from encounters with cannabis.

Stigma surrounding cannabis appears to remain quite high.

Almost one-fifth, or 18.8%, of respondents said they were concerned about being seen buying legal cannabis, and 26.2% wouldn’t want coworkers to know they use recreational cannabis. Meanwhile, 33.8% said they wouldn’t want to work with a regular recreational user.

On the other side, the survey found that 37% of respondents use cannabis, and out of those people, 35% use daily, which is about 13% of the general population.

Almost half, or 46%, said they use it primarily for medicinal reasons, while 32% said it was recreational, 10% cited social reasons, 7% said wellness and 4% said their reason was spiritual.

In contrast, a recent Statistics Canada study found cannabis use was on the rise. About 5.3 million, or 18% of Canadians aged 15 years and older, reported using cannabis January to March of 2019 - higher than the 14% who reported using just one year earlier before legalization.

StatsCan also found that new users nearly doubled during that period, to 646,000 Canadians trying cannabis for the first time.

Source: https://www.cp24.com/news/survey-suggests-canadians-more-uncertain-about-cannabis-in-wake-of-legalization-1.4414939

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