Montreal

Nearly half of Quebecers find cannabis consumption to be socially acceptable, survey says

The Quebec Cannabis Survey, conducted from March to June 2018, aimed to paint a portrait of cannabis use in the province before it was legalized.

More than 10k people surveyed by Quebec's statistics institute in days leading up to legalization

Consumiing cannabis has been legal in Canada since October and, as it turns out, nearly half of Quebecers were okay with it even before it was on the legal market. (Robert F. Bukaty/Associated Press)

Nearly half of Quebecers consider occasional, recreational use of cannabis to be socially acceptable, according to a survey by the Institut de la statistique Québec

The finding is part of the first edition of the Quebec Cannabis Survey, conducted by the institute from March to June 2018 with the aim of painting a portrait of cannabis use in the province before it was legalized.

The survey, conducted in partnership with the provincial health ministry, focused on use, perceptions and social norms in relation to cannabis, according to the institute's website, where the results are readily available in French.

"The information provided should contribute to enriching the knowledge about the issues surrounding cannabis use and to support decisions about adaptation of services and programs for the population," the institute's director general, Daniel Florea said in the report outlining the findings.

The target population for the survey — completed by more than 10,000 people — consisted of Quebecers aged 15 and over in most of the province, which has some of the most conservative laws when it comes to legalized cannabis.

Quebec has banned home growing and the current government has vowed to up the legal age of consumption to 21.

Prior to legalization, another poll, published by CROP, suggested 46 per cent of Quebecers were in favour of legal cannabis compared to 58 per cent in the rest of the country.

Men find it more acceptable than women

According to the Institut de la statistique du Québec survey, men are slightly more likely than women to consider occasional cannabis consumption socially acceptable.

More than 53 per cent of Quebec men see it as OK compared to 44 per cent of women.

Relaxation was most cited as the reason to use the substance.

The report says the results show occasional tobacco consumption, at 55 per cent, is more socially acceptable.

In contrast, the vast majority — 93 per cent — say occasionally drinking alcohol is acceptable.

Cannabis has been legal in Quebec since Oct. 17 and the provincial agency in charge of selling it has had trouble keeping its shelves stocked ever since. (CBC)

Cannabis is perceived to have positive effects on several aspects of ability and behaviour, including mood, creativity and inhibitions, according to the survey.

However, most recognize the risks of consuming before getting behind the wheel of a car.

The vast majority (up to 83 per cent) surveyed believe consumption of cannabis has negative effects on memory, ability to focus attention and decision making.

About the Author

Isaac Olson is a journalist with CBC Montreal. He has been covering the Montreal area for more than a decade, with a strong focus on community news, municipal politics and human-interest stories.

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