Majority of Manitobans prefer higher legal age for pot than alcohol: survey
The majority of Manitobans who responded to a recent online survey on marijuana legalization want the minimum age to purchase pot to be higher than the legal age to buy alcohol.
Fifty-eight per cent of respondents to the CTV Winnipeg/Probe Research survey said the legal age should be 21 instead of 18.
The federal government has said marijuana will become legal in Canada in July 2018 and has set the minimum age to buy pot at 18 but is leaving it up to the provinces and territories to set a higher age.
The majority of Manitobans who responded to the poll also said they’d prefer their son or daughter to drink alcohol at a party rather than smoke marijuana.
In total, 1,032 Manitobans completed the web-based survey from Aug. 8-20.
Research Associate Mary Agnes Welch said the results show some Manitobans are still worried about legalization.
“Why would it be different, alcohol versus pot, but people are much more worried about pot than they are about the sort of the things we’re used to about alcohol: driving, legal age, where you buy it, all those sorts of things," said Welch.
“I think the public is still catching up with this idea. We’ve sort of talked about the taxes and is July 1 really going to happen and we haven’t necessarily really as a province come to grips with some of the really big changes that are going to come in our everyday lives.”
Charleswood—St. James—Assiniboia—Headingley Liberal MP Doug Eyolfson, who worked as an emergency room physician in Winnipeg, is a member of the House of Commons committee on health which has been tasked with reviewing Bill C-45, the Cannabis Act.
Eyolfson said public health is a key part of the legislation.
When it comes to the legal age to buy Cannabis he said there are many different views.
"There's no clear science as to when is the best age before people start doing it when you're going to minimize the harm," said Eyolfson.
The Canadian Medical Association has previously recommended a legal age of 25 but Eyolfson said that would go against one of the goals of the legislation which is to create a legal and regulated market for cannabis.
"The problem with that given that the highest rates (of marijuana use) are in the 18-24 group is this will negate the effect of getting rid of the black market because it'll be illegal for the vast number of people using it."
Eyolfson said the committee on health will begin a week-long review of the federal government's pot legislation on Sept. 11.