Pubdate: Wed, 03 Jan 2018
Source: Globe and Mail (Canada)
Copyright: 2018 The Globe and Mail Company
Author: Daniel Leblanc
Page: A4


Nanos finds only 43 per cent of respondents in favour of current
deadline, with many critics wanting more time for cities and police to

A majority of Canadians are in no hurry to see the legalization of
recreational cannabis by Canada Day, a new poll has found.

The Liberal government has said it wants to remove the prohibition on
the drug by July, which some provinces and police bodies have said
does not give them enough time to get ready.

In a new Nanos poll conducted for The Globe and Mail, only 43 per cent
of respondents were in favour of keeping the July 1 deadline. On the
other hand, 31 per cent said that legalization should be delayed "to
give provinces, cities and police more time to adapt" and 23 per cent
said they would prefer to see the drug remain illegal.

Pollster Nik Nanos said the government needs to use the coming months
to showcase to the public that everything is in place for the major
societal shift.

"There are 54 per cent of Canadians who say it shouldn't go ahead at
all or it should be delayed," Mr. Nanos said. "Canadians want to make
sure the government gets it right, they are not sure there is a rush."

He said that timing remains a key problem, given that most everyone
agrees that the legal market for cannabis will be chaotic early on.

"This actually could be the biggest risk for the government, the issue
of timing," Mr. Nanos said. "What is more important for the government
is to make sure they do this right out of the gate to make sure that
as many Canadians as possible are comfortable with the legalization of
marijuana once it happens."

In a recent interview, Health Minister Ginette Petitpas Taylor said
that most stakeholders have taken the necessary steps to prepare for
the July timeline.

"I'm very confident that we will be able to meet that date," Ms.
Petitpas Taylor said. "Most provinces have indicated they feel they
will be ready before that date, and that is certainly our aim."

On another issue, the poll asked respondents whether they feel that
advertising rules for cannabis should be in keeping with those that
apply to alcohol, or as strict as those that apply to tobacco products.

A clear majority (55 per cent) favoured stricter rules compared with
those who feel that legalized marijuana should be treated like alcohol
(37 per cent).

The findings are in line with the federal government's overall
approach to the legalization of cannabis, which is to favour a
strictly regulated regime. However, cannabis producers have called for
looser rules to allow them to compete with the black market, which
already uses aggressive marketing techniques to sell their products
through the Internet and illegal dispensaries.

"We should align the restrictions around cannabis so that they are
virtually the same as beer, wine and liquor," said Cam Battley, a
spokesman for the recently formed Coalition for Responsible Cannabis
Branding. "It's the easiest and most pragmatic way to go."

Under the coalition's proposed advertising and marketing guidelines,
companies would be able to promote products based on taste, flavour,
safety, origins and use. In addition, cannabis products could be
promoted on print, television and social media platforms where at
least 70 per cent of the audience is over 18 (or higher, depending on
a province's legal age of consumption).

At the same time, producers would be forbidden from targeting underage
users, promoting the actual consumption of the drug and associating
its use with driving or any other skilled activity.

"If you want to reduce youth access, you have to carve away the black
market. In order to carve away the black market, you have to unleash
market forces," Mr. Battley said. "It's an incredibly sophisticated
black market that we are up against. All of their products are branded."

The Nanos poll of 1,000 Canadians was conducted between Dec. 6 and 10.
It is considered to be accurate within 3.1 percentage points.
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MAP posted-by: Matt