An overwhelming majority of Yukoners are cool with legalizing pot, but most want to see limits on where and when it can be consumed, a territorial government survey suggests.

Of those who responded to the government's online survey earlier this year, 81 per cent said they supported Ottawa's plan to legalize cannabis in July. Only 14 per cent opposed legalization.

The Yukon government has said the marijuana survey was its most successful yet, with 3,172 people answering at least some of the questions. Ninety-seven per cent of the respondents live in the territory.

Participation in the government survey was voluntary, and so the results do not necessarily reflect broader public opinion in Yukon.

The questionnaire was meant to help the territorial government draft legislation on how and where pot can be sold and used. 

"We'll be using the input that we received to inform that process," said Patricia Randell, director of cannabis implementation and education with Yukon's department of justice.

"It was a high level of response from Yukoners, and it certainly showed us that there was a level of interest in this file."

By the numbers

The survey results suggest that most Yukoners are fine with people using pot, with 75 per cent of respondents saying it was either somewhat or completely acceptable to eat or smoke cannabis recreationally.  

Marijuana smoking

Seventy-five per cent of respondents say recreational use of marijuana is either somewhat or completely acceptable. (David Donnelly/CBC)

However, a majority of respondents (58 per cent) felt there should be limits on public consumption of grass. More than half (57 per cent) said rules for smoking weed in public should be the same as those for tobacco.

Most (77 per cent) believe it should be OK to smoke dope on private property, but 73 per cent believe rules may be needed in apartment and condo buildings. 

Many respondents also want to see penalties for people who drive while high: 43 per cent support the idea of suspending licences of people caught driving while under the influence of weed, and 87 per cent said there should be "zero tolerance" for drug use by people operating commercial vehicles.

A large majority also said it's important to keep young people off pot, with 82 per cent saying the government should invest in enforcement to discourage sales to minors.

In a news release, Health Minister Pauline Frost said it's clear that Yukoners favour a "public health approach" to legal marijuana.

"As we develop the legislation, we will continue to consider the impacts associated with the normalization of cannabis — particularly as it relates to its effects on youth, pregnant women, and those at risk of psychosis or cardiovascular disease." 

Minimum age of 19

When asked what the minimum age should be to legally have, buy or grow marijuana, more people (45 per cent) said it should be the same as the legal drinking age in Yukon — 19. A smaller percentage of people said 18, or 21.

Respondents also tended to agree with the federal government's proposed limits for possessing and growing pot, with 71 per cent saying 30 grams is an appropriate possession limit, and 65 per cent saying that people should be allowed to grow up to four plants at home.

Pot Shop

A majority of respondents — 51 per cent — favour a mixture of government and private retail stores selling pot in Yukon. (David Horemans/CBC)

When it comes to the sale of marijuana, the survey found more mixed opinions. A majority of respondents, though — 51 per cent — favour a mixture of government and private retail stores selling dope. A majority (58 per cent) also  support online sales and home delivery.

Forty-seven per cent said pot should not be sold alongside alcohol, but 36 per cent said it should. Many respondents (43 per cent) also said communities should be allowed to decide whether to allow retail sales locally.

A majority of people (more than 70 per cent) also supported initiatives to educate Yukoners about cannabis use, in stores selling pot, medical offices and schools.

Clarifications

  • This story was revised to clarify that the results of the survey do not necessarily reflect broader public opinion.
    Dec 04, 2017 2:56 PM CT
With files from Meagan Deuling