With just one week to go until Canadians from coast to coast are free to light up legally, pot companies like Canopy Growth Corp (Canopy Growth Corp Stock Quote, Chart TSX:WEED, NYSE:CGC) and Aurora Cannabis (Aurora Cannabis Stock Quote, Chart TSX:ACB) are not only readying their weed supplies for sale to Canadian consumers but many have their gaze fixed on wider horizons, betting that the Canadian experiment in legal cannabis will have true export potential.
That assumption just gained a little more credibility in the form of a new survey by the Pew Research Center in Washington, DC, which finds that public acceptance of legal recreational marijuana in the US is increasing and now sits at a healthy 62 per cent.
The poll showed that the number of Americans supportive of legal weed has gone up substantially over the past two decades, rising from just 31 per cent in 2000 and now featuring wide discrepancy between the generations, with 74 per cent of Millennials in favour versus 63 per cent of Gen Xers, 54 per cent of Baby Boomers and only 39 per cent of the Silent Generation, those born between 1926 and 1945.
The survey notes that the growth in public support for legal pot is in tandem with the growing number of states that have now legalized either recreational marijuana use (nine states and the District of Columbia) or marijuana for medical purposes (31 states plus the District of Columbia, Guam and Puerto Rico).
That’s good news to CEOs like Bruce Linton of Canopy Growth who has made no bones about his company’s plans for world weed domination. “We’ve gone from three or four countries five years ago regulating at a federal level [medical marijuana] to 29 who are doing it now,” Linton says. “And they’re doing it very similarly to how Canada did it first. They’re going to look after the patient and then they’re going to roll out the party.”
Interestingly, the majority support in the United States is seemingly greater than it is in Canada.
One poll of 5,000 Canadians conducted between July and August of 2017 by Oraclepoll Research on behalf of cannabis industry stakeholders found that 57 per cent of respondents supported legalization while 35 per cent opposed it. A second survey, this one conducted in February 2018 by the consultancy company Navigator Ltd. put the number of Canadians supporting legal weed at just 42 per cent, with 38 per cent opposing it.
“Support has slowly been decreasing since it peaked in June 2017, when 46 per cent of respondents indicated that they supported legalization,” reads the Navigator report. “It appears that as we move closer to recreational cannabis becoming a legal reality Canadians are growing nervous about what that reality might actually look like.”
A 2017 Health Canada report found that while 56 per cent of Canadians aged 16 and older feel that alcohol use is completely socially acceptable, using cannabis for non-medical purposes, including smoking and consuming edibles, was considered completely acceptable by just 28 per cent of respondents.