HTTP/1.0 200 OK Content-Type: text/html 93% Of Canadians Okay With Medicinal Pot
Pubdate: Thu, 02 Nov 2006
Source: Montreal Gazette (CN QU)
Copyright: 2006 The Gazette, a division of Southam Inc.
Author: Misty Harris, CanWest News Service
Bookmark: (Cannabis - Medicinal - Canada)


Nearly Half Back Full Legalization; Support Is Highest In Quebec And B.C.

Although Canadians are hardly trading maple leaves for pot leaves,
newly published findings suggest Cheech and Chong would feel right at
home here.

In a nationwide survey, an overwhelming 93 per cent of Canadians
indicated they accept the idea of people legally smoking marijuana for
health reasons.

Nearly three in four (70 per cent) not only accept the practice but
also personally approve of the behaviour.

Support for the overall legalization of marijuana is also strong, with
almost half of Canucks giving it a hearty thumbs up - the same
percentage of people who, in a 2004 Health Canada sponsored survey
were found to have smoked cannabis in their lifetime.

Results of the study of 2,400 adults are published in the new book The
Boomer Factor: What Canada's Most Famous Generation Is Leaving Behind,
authored by Alberta's University of Lethbridge sociologist Reginald Bibby.

The findings are particularly striking in light of last week's Supreme
Court ruling in favour of marijuana activist Grant Krieger. He was
awarded a new trial because the original judge directed jurors to find
the accused guilty of possessing the drug for the purposes of
trafficking, denying him the right to a trial by jury.

Krieger, who uses marijuana to cope with multiple sclerosis, has said
he shares his supply of the drug, but only with people in medical need.

"Any jury that is representative of Canadians can be expected to
accept the general principle that an individual should be able to use
marijuana for medicinal purposes," Bibby says.

"We simply do not have significant variations by almost any variable,
starting with age, gender, and even religious service

In 1975, 26 per cent of Canadians supported the legalization of
marijuana; 40 per cent of those age 18 to 34, 19 per cent of those age
35 to 54 and 14 per cent of those age 55 or older.

In 2005, 45 per cent supported such a change; 48 per cent of those age
18 to 34, 48 per cent of those age 35 to 54, and 38 per cent of those
age 55 or older.

And Bibby reports Canucks today are more accepting of pot than even
those figures imply.

"Large numbers of Canadians - rightly or wrongly - do not believe its
legalization would be detrimental to individuals or society, based in
part on their personal experiences with pot," he says.

"If people think it can further help people medically, then relatively
few .. feel there is any reason to ban it, any more than we ban a drug
such as morphine."

Regionally, support for the medical use of marijuana is fairly
uniform. Quebec is most approving at 96 per cent, followed by British
Columbia at 94 per cent, Ontario at 93 per cent, the Prairies at 92
per cent, and Atlantic Canada at 90 per cent.

Support for the general legalization of marijuana is strongest in
British Columbia, at 57 per cent.

Quebec ranks second with 47-per-cent support, followed by Ontario at
44 per cent, the Prairies at 38 per cent, and Atlantic Canada at 37
per cent.

National figures are considered accurate within three percentage
points, 19 times out of 20.
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