Less than a quarter of Atlantic Canadian adults intend to buy pot even occasionally when it's legal, a new poll suggests.

About 20 per cent of New Brunswick adults plan to purchase marijuana for personal use at least occasionally once it's legalized by the federal government in July, according to the poll by Corporate Research Associates.

The likelihood of buying recreational pot is highest among people aged 18 to 34 — more than double that of older residents, the poll released on Wednesday shows.

Nearly 80 per cent of New Brunswickers who were polled said they do not intend to purchase any pot.

The other Atlantic provinces saw similar results for intent to purchase: Newfoundland and Labrador (23 per cent), Nova Scotia (19 per cent), and Prince Edward Island (15 per cent).

"Based on current purchase intentions for marijuana for personal use, the market for this product may be less than many anticipated in New Brunswick," Don Mills, chairman and CEO of Corporate Research Associates, said in a statement.

"This is especially the case if current intentions are appropriately discounted to reflect the degree of likelihood of such purchases."

It is possible, however, that purchase intentions are understated since recreational use is still illegal, Mills has noted.

30g marijuana

New Brunswick adults will be allowed to carry a maximum of 30 grams of marijuana. (Radio-Canada)

Two in 10 New Brunswickers who responded to the telephone poll last month said they will either definitely or probably purchase marijuana, once legalized, at least occasionally, the results indicate.

The likelihood of purchasing among those aged 18 to 34 was 35 per cent, compared to 16 per cent for those aged 35 to 54, and 13 per cent for those aged 55 and older. 

Eight in 10 New Brunswickers said they will either probably not or definitely not purchase marijuana.

Highest percentage in NL

Among the Atlantic provinces, Newfoundland and Labrador had the highest percentage of residents who indicated they will definitely or probably purchase pot, at 23 per cent.

The results were highest among those aged 18 to 34, with nearly half (48 per cent) saying they might buy marijuana once it's legal.

That's three times higher than the likelihood of older residents: 16 per cent for those aged 35 to 54, and 15 per cent among the 55 and older group.

Numbers consistent across N.S.

In Nova Scotia, one in five adults intend to purchase at least occasionally, while eight in 10 do not, the poll suggests.

The intent to purchase was consistent across the province, but the likelihood was highest among men and those under the age of 55.

Across P.E.I., one in seven respondents plan to partake. More than eight in 10 said they won't.

In Kings and Queens counties, the likelihood was 19 per cent and 18 per cent respectively — more than double that of Prince County, at seven per cent.

"If these purchase intentions are discounted to reflect the likelihood of such purchases, the market for marijuana on the Island will be quite modest," said Mills.

Different provincial approaches

All of the Atlantic provinces have set the legal age for possession and consumption at 19, but each is taking a different approach.

The New Brunswick government's recreational marijuana stand-alone retail stores will operate under a new NB Liquor subsidiary, called CannabisNB.

The Newfoundland and Labrador Liquor Corporation will license and regulate the sale of marijuana in private stores and possibly sell some products in areas where there are no alternatives.

Certain Nova Scotia Liquor Corp. outlets will sell cannabis and alcohol together, while the P.E.I. Liquor Control Commission will have stand-alone outlets for pot.

The New Brunswick, Newfoundland and Labrador and P.E.I. polls were all conducted by telephone in November. Each had between 300 and 400 respondents.

The overall results are accurate to within plus or minus 4.9 percentage points, 95 out of 100 times, for New Brunswick and Newfoundland and Labrador, and 5.6 percentage points on P.E.I.

Nova Scotia's poll was conducted during a two-week period in mid-October. It had a sample size of 400 adults, with a margin of error of 4.9 percentage points.