Pubdate: Fri, 06 Mar 2009
Source: Georgia Straight, The (CN BC)
Copyright: 2009 The Georgia Straight
Author: Carlito Pablo
Bookmark: (Cannabis)
Bookmark: (Decrim/Legalization)


Amid a raging gang war in Metro Vancouver that is widely believed to 
be over control of the illegal drug market, a new Angus Reid 
Strategies poll shows that half of Canadians endorse the legalization 
of marijuana.

The survey results, released on March 5, also show that 64 percent of 
respondents in British Columbia want cannabis to be legalized.

However, the same poll found that less than eight percent of 
Canadians favour the legalization of hard drugs such as cocaine or 
crystal meth.

B.C. solicitor general John van Dongen was among the guests at the 
March 1 private screening of A Warrior's Religion, a documentary 
dealing with gangs in the South Asian community.

"That is a federal issue and certainly the Conservative government 
has made their position clear that they're not going there," van 
Dongen told the Straight in an interview in the lobby of the Rio 
Theatre in East Vancouver, when asked if legalization is being contemplated.

"They're looking at strengthening the legislation the Criminal Code," 
van Dongen added.

The Angus Reid Strategies survey shows that there is high support 
among Canadians for toughened criminal legislation against gang activity.

"They've made some announcements in the last few days and the British 
Columbia government looks forward to working with the federal 
government and all the opposition parties to strengthen the 
compliance with the law with respect to gun and gang violence," van 
Dongen said.

Other results of the Angus Reid Strategies survey:

* Almost half of Canadians (48%) oppose the Stephen Harper 
government's decision to scrap the previous government's marijuana 
decriminalization legislation.

* A majority (51%) also rejects the elimination of harm-reduction 
programs, such as supervised injection sites and needle-exchange programs.

* Nine in 10 respondents support the introduction of a National 
Anti-Drug Strategy.

The on-line survey was conducted among 1,007 Canadian adults from 
February 26 to 27. It is considered to have a margin of error of 3.1 
percentage points, 19 times out of 20.
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MAP posted-by: Jay Bergstrom