A new public opinion poll, conducted by SES Research, confirms that almost 6 in 10 Canadians want personal possession of marijuana to be legal, not just decriminalized. The BCCLA has long advocated for the reform of Canada’s outdated, and unsuccessful, approach to marijuana use. As a matter of individual autonomy, the BCCLA believes that adult Canadians are able to make decisions about what substances they choose to ingest.
According to BCCLA President John Russell: “The empirical evidence is clear – marijuana is a relatively harmless plant and its prohibition does more harm than good. This polling data confirms that most Canadians agree with the BCCLA that marijuana laws must be reformed, and that people who choose to use should simply be left alone.”
The polls also demonstrate that only a very small minority (8%) of Canadians believe that possession should be a criminal offence. Instead, a majority of Canadians believe that the government should be regulating and taxing the marijuana industry, instead of spending $400 million per year on prohibition.
Given the attitude of the public, and the conclusions of virtually every Parliamentary and Senate inquiries into cannabis use (that prohibition is the worst policy alternative available), the BCCLA wonders why our lawmakers are so far behind the curve on this issue. For civil libertarians the issue is clear – a commitment to freedom and individual rights requires legalization. Now that the public appears to agree, one wonders how long it will take Parliament to catch up.
Russell said today: “The public recognizes that marijuana prohibition is wasteful in money in lives. Let’s tax and regulate the marijuana industry and use the money for better purposes than filling the courts and jails with persons who have not committed any real crimes.”