Survey: Canadians uncertain about cannabis

Jun 20, 2019

The results of a new survey carried out by researchers at Dalhousie University show that the attitudes of Canadians towards recreational cannabis have changed since 2017, with its legalization on October 17, 2018. The survey involved collecting responses from a total of 1,051 adults in April, and was designed to follow up on a 2017 survey regarding attitudes surrounding cannabis prior to legalization.

“The majority of Canadians are still in agreement with the legalization of marijuana but not as much, there are more and more people unsure whether this is a good idea.”

Sylvain Charlebois, principle study researcher

Specifically, the study showed that support for legalization of cannabis has decreased to 50.1% when compared to 68.6% observed in 2017. Moreover, the number of survey responses that neither agree nor disagree with legalization of cannabis appears to have increased to 20.3% from 6.9%.

In addition, the survey found that the stigma surrounding cannabis use seems to remain high. The results revealed that 18.8% of respondents indicated that they were concerned about being seen buying legal cannabis, and 26.2% of respondents would not want coworkers to know about their use of recreational cannabis. Furthermore, 33.8% of the respondents stated they would not want to work with a regular recreational cannabis user.

The results of the survey also suggested Canadians’ caution around edibles. In 2017, 38.5% of responses indicated a willingness to order a dish containing cannabis at a restaurant, compared to only 25.5% in 2019.

“People think that cannabis or edibles are all about getting high and not getting healthy, but I actually do see a little trend in terms of Canadians seeing cannabis as a healthy product. Edibles will eventually be socially normalized, but it will take probably much longer than what companies expect.”

Sylvain Charlebois, principle study researcher

The survey has also found that 60.4% of cannabis users continued to obtain cannabis from their previous supplier even after legalization, with the top reasons being price, quality and convenience. However, despite the appearance of changing attitudes towards recreational cannabis use shown by the results of the survey, another recent study by Statistics Canada found that cannabis use is on the rise. Statistics Canada found that approximately 5.3 million Canadians aged 15 years and older (18% of the population), reported using cannabis in January, February and March of 2019 compared to 14% one year earlier, before its legalization.