With cannabis becoming legal on October 17th, 2018, Campaign Research investigated whether there was support for further decriminalization of drugs that are currently illegal for personal use. This study was conducted among a sample of 1,486 Canadian residents, who were give a list of drugs and asked which ones (if any) should be decriminalized. Our study found that 23% of Canadian’s supported decriminalizing at least one drug, with the remaining 77% opposed to any further decriminalization.
Older participants were more opposed to decriminalization then were younger ones and 34% of millennials supported further decriminalization of at least one listed drug, compared to only 14% of baby boomers. There was also a sizable difference between males and females with males being far more supportive (28%), then females (19%). Support for further drug decriminalization also varied substantially by region. British Columbia was the most supportive (28%) and Atlantic Canada was the least (18%). Interestingly there was a huge divide at the sub-provincial level within Ontario. The GTA outside of the City of Toronto displayed the lowest support for decriminalization of anywhere in Canada (15%), while the City of Toronto proper expressed the most (37%).
The drugs that received the most support for decriminalization were Magic Mushrooms (14%), followed by Cocaine (10%), LSD (9%) and MDMA (Ecstasy, 9%). Once again, the City of Toronto expressed the strongest support and 1 in 5 (20%) supported the decriminalization of both Magic Mushrooms and Cocaine. As with drug decriminalization in general, the GTA expressed the strongest opposition of anywhere in Canada and only 9% supported the decriminalization of Magic Mushrooms and 5% of Cocaine. Decriminalization of both Magic Mushrooms and Cocaine also enjoyed support in British Columbia with 17% supporting the decriminalization of Magic Mushrooms, while 15% supporting the decriminalization of Cocaine.
Differences in support levels by political partisanship were even more pronounced. Conservative supporters were the least in favor of further drug decriminalization (14%), in sharp contrast were NDP supporters (37%), with Liberal supporters in between (25%). In particular, NDP supporters wanted the decriminalization of Magic Mushrooms (26%), Cocaine (20%) and LSD (20%), with support for decriminalizing every other drug being at least 10%.
“While still a minority, nearly a quarter of Canadian’s support further drug decriminalization. Whether this support will grow overtime and we will see other legalization movements similar to the one for cannabis, however, remains to be seen.” said Eli Yufest, CEO of Campaign Research Inc.
This online study was conducted by Campaign Research as part of its monthly omnibus study between September 13 and September 14 through an online survey of 1,486 randomly selected Canadian adults who are members of Maru/Blue’s online panel Maru Voice Canada and were provided with various incentives to respond. The panelists were selected to reflect Canada’s age, gender and regional distributions in line with 2016 Statistics Canada census data. For comparison purposes, a probability sample of this size has an estimated margin of error (which measures sampling variability) of +/- 2.5%, 19 times out of 20.
The results have been weighted by age, gender, and region to match the population according to 2016 Census data. Discrepancies in or between totals are due to rounding.
The following screening question was asked in order to determine eligibility for participation in the study
"Are you 18 years of age or older and eligible to vote in federal elections?"