REGINA – A Saskatchewan government survey suggests most respondents want legal recreational marijuana to be regulated in much the same way as alcohol.
The results of the online survey indicate most people – 46 per cent – want 19 to be the legal age to use cannabis, the same as for alcohol consumption.
Two-thirds of people either agree or strongly agree that the same penalties for drunk driving should apply to people who use pot and get behind the wheel.
When it comes to retail sales, 45 per cent believe marijuana should be sold in government-run outlets similar to those run by the Saskatchewan Liquor and Gaming Authority. The next most popular choice – 37 per cent – was for small businesses to sell weed.
Justice Minister Don Morgan says the results will be used to develop the government’s legal marijuana strategy, but gave no indication when the plan will be rolled out. Morgan said more than 34,000 people took part, the largest response ever to a Saskatchewan government survey.
Joe Hargrave, minister responsible for Saskatchewan Government Insurance, said lawmakers share the public’s concerns about impaired driving.
“Marijuana impairs a driver’s judgment, reaction time, motor co-ordination, and ability to make decisions,” Hargrave said Thursday.
“Respondents made it clear they felt drug use and driving should not mix. The information provided through the survey is valuable to assist us in developing a plan to meet public safety expectations.”
The survey says the government’s top priority should be keeping marijuana away from children and youth, including ensuring that pot retail stores are well away from schools or where young people frequent.
Almost 60 per cent of respondents believe there should be one set of rules for the province instead of allowing municipalities to pass more restrictive bylaws.
Two-thirds of respondents want to be able to buy pot either in a walk-in retail store or online. Of the people who filled out the survey, 63 per cent were between the ages of 18 and 40.
NDP Opposition Leader Nicole Sarauer said the government should have more public consultations before releasing Saskatchewan’s marijuana strategy.
The federal government plans to legalize recreational marijuana in July.