HTTP/1.0 200 OK Content-Type: text/html Canadians Favour The Use Of Medical Marijuana
Pubdate: Wed, 7 Apr 1999 
Source: National Post (Canada)
Copyright: 1999 Southam Inc.
Author: Tom Arnold 	


Canadians overwhelmingly support the medicinal use of marijuana, 	according
to a new national survey.

In a survey of 2,026 people, conducted last month by Decima Research Inc.,
78% of those polled said they support the federal government's plan to
consider the use of marijuana as a possible treatment for various medicinal
conditions.  The survey is considered accurate within 2.1 percentage
points, 19 times out of 20.

"That's a very very strong consensus," said Dave Crapper, seniour
vice-president of Decima. "In public opinion terms, that's a reallly big
number.  And for a third of the population to strongly support anything is
very impressive."

About 33% of those polled strongly support the medicinal use of marijuana
while, 45% said they support its use.  Just 10% are opposed, while 8% are
strongly opposed; 4% had no point of view.

Support for marijuana's medicinal use was strongest among those who are
university educated and with household incomes of more than $60,000 annually.

Older people were less than enthusiastic, but still 72% of those over 50
supported the idea.

It's been 18 years since Decima asked Canadians about marijuana.

In 1981, the company asked more than 1,500 people if they were in 	favour
of possible government initiatives and 39% of them favoured them.

Alan Rock, the federal Health Minister, announced last month that health
officials would conduct clinical trials on the medicinal use of marijuana
to determine whether the drug can help relieve side-effects for patients
being treated for illnesses such as AIDS and cancer.  	

No timetable has been set, but Mr. Rock said scientists will gather
evidence "as soon as possible" and develop appropriate guidelines for the
medical use of the drug and to provide access to a safe supply.

Mr. Rock's announcement came more than a year after an Ontario judge ruled
it is legal to grow and use marijuana for medicinal use.

In December, 1997, Mr.Justice Patrick Sheppard said Terry Parker, a Toronto
resident, was deprived of his "right to life, liberty and security" by
being charged with possession of marijuana.

Mr. Parker had been smoking marijuana for more than 20 years to ease the
severity of epileptic seizures.  An appeal of the judge's ruling has yet to
be heard.
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