HTTP/1.0 200 OK Content-Type: text/html Canadians Believe Sugar Worse For You Than Pot
Pubdate: Tue, 18 Apr 2017
Source: National Post (Canada)
Copyright: 2017 Canwest Publishing Inc.
Author: Sunny Freeman
Page: A1


One-in-four Canadians has used marijuana recreationally in the past
year and another 19 per cent would use it if it were legal, according
to a survey released Monday, just days after the federal government
announced legalization rules.

About 15 per cent of respondents to a Dig Insights survey said they
have bought marijuana at dispensaries, which operate outside the law
and have been targeted in raids across the country. Still, more than
half of respondents said they're not worried about police intervention
when they're buying pot.

Just 18 per cent of respondents said they thought marijuana is "very
harmful" - lower than the 19 per cent who said that about alcohol, 25
per cent who felt processed sugar was "very harmful" and 33 per cent
who said that about saturated fat.

"What we are seeing is the law to legalize marijuana in Canada
couldn't come soon enough," said Rory McGee, research director at DIG
Insights, Inc. "Perceptions and attitudes about marijuana use have
become more relaxed." "The fact that Canadians see marijuana use as
less harmful than sugar and fat suggests that old stereotypes no
longer ring true."

About six-in-10 Canadians said they support marijuana legalization,
according to the survey, which polled 1,108 Canadians between April 3
and April 7.

Ottawa unveiled long-awaited marijuana legalization legislation last
week with the goal of implementing a legal market by July, 2018.

Little is known about the size of the coming recreational marijuana
market, with estimates projecting it could be worth anywhere from $1
billion to $8 billion on an annual basis.

Another survey released on Friday found similar levels of support for
marijuana legalization - with about 50 per cent of 1,970 respondents
to a Campaign Research poll saying they support legal marijuana by
next year.

One-fifth of those Canadians said they had used marijuana in the past

Under the new legislation, the federal government will be responsible
for issuing licences to produce, as it does currently for medical marijuana.

Distribution through retail stores will be left up to the provinces,
some of which have expressed interest in selling it through
provincially owned liquor stores such as Ontario's LCBO.

But respondents to the Campaign Research survey seemed to prefer
either pharmacies or independent dispensaries selling the drug, rather
than purchasing it at liquor stores.

The government has said that if provinces don't have a distribution
system in place by July, 2018, Canadians will be able to purchase
directly from licensed producers through the mail, the way medical
marijuana patients currently do.

Even as Canadians' attitudes toward marijuana are liberalizing, the
Liberal government's stance toward those with past marijuana
convictions is not - despite the party's prior support for amnesty.

Ralph Goodale, the federal public safety minister, said Monday the
plan to legalize recreational marijuana does not include a general
amnesty for past pot convictions.

The minister told The Canadian Press not to expect a blanket pardon
for people with criminal records for possessing small amounts of the

There is already a formal process to have a criminal record set aside,
Goodale said.

Those convicted of simple possession of up to 30 grams of marijuana
are eligible to apply for a pardon, now known as a record suspension,
five years after their sentence is completed.

An internal Public Safety Canada briefing note, released last year
under the Access to Information Act, said the issue of record
suspensions would be "important to consider during the marijuana
legalization discussions."
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