Changes to the Canada Pension Plan? A piddly 47 responses. Input on the most inspirational Canadians? About 12,000 people weighed in.
But public online consultation about legalizing marijuana netted 30,000 responses, proving pot stokes the passions of the Canadian public. (Though not quite as engaging as the topic of prostitution, which drew 31,172 responses.)
A vast majority of the pot submissions — 29,000 or so — were responses to an online survey.
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Questions in the survey included:
- Should consumption of marijuana be allowed in any publicly accessible spaces outside the home?
- To what extent, if any, should home cultivation be allowed in a legalized system?
- How should governments approach designing laws that will reduce, eliminate and punish those who operate outside the boundaries of the new legal system for marijuana?
- What are your views on the minimum age for purchasing and possessing marijuana? Should the minimum age be consistent across Canada, or is it acceptable that there be variation amongst provinces and territories?
The survey, which allowed up to 1,500 word answers to a series of questions, was open to the public between June 30 and Aug 29. Participants were also asked for personal information like age, gender, level of education and to check off boxes that described their personal experience. Options included lawyer, parents or guardian of a minor and marijuana activist.
A spokesperson for the task force couldn't offer any information about where the majority of survey respondents stood on the various issues. The information will be analyzed and used by the the task force on marijuana legalization and regulation in its final report to the Trudeau government in November.
Task force goes south
The task force has also been collecting other perspectives. Officials travelled to Colorado and Washington, where pot is already legal, to find out more about how systems work there. According to a spokesperson, the task force has also visited several Canadian facilities licensed to grow medical marijuana.
It has also held eight invitation-only roundtable discussion across the country, with experts recommended by various levels of government. There were two days of discussion in both Toronto and Vancouver along one with roundtable each in Edmonton, Montreal, Ottawa and Halifax.
The Canadian Medical Association released its recommendations to the government earlier this week — including making the legal age for marijuana consumption 21.
A spokesperson for the task force said sessions will also be held with youth and Indigenous representatives.