Yukoners mostly support legalized cannabis, but there’s no consensus on what kind of distribution model the government should use. (Pixabay photo)

Yukon survey shows broad support for legal pot

But there’s no consensus on retail and distribution models

Yukoners who responded to a government survey seeking input on marijuana policy are pretty chill with legalization.

After that, the picture gets a little hazy.

Eighty-one per cent of Yukoners who filled out the survey said they support federal plans to legalize cannabis. And 75 per cent said it’s socially acceptable to smoke or eat pot for fun.

The results showed there’s broad support for the goals of keeping weed out of the hands of minors and for depriving organized crime of profits.

But there’s no clear consensus on what kind of distribution and retail system the territorial government should set up. More than half — 51 per cent — of respondents said there should be a both private and public-sector stores, while 24 per cent said there should only be privately owned stores, and 19 per cent said there should only be government-run stores.

As for the distribution network, 28 per cent thought there should be regulated private distributors, 24 per cent think retailers should buy from a government wholesaler and 17 per cent support government wholesalers selling to government stores. Meanwhile, another 24 per cent think private growers should be able to sell directly to retailers.

There is overwhelming support for the possession limits proposed by Ottawa of 30 grams of bud or four plants for personal use. Forty-five per cent of respondents think the minimum age for buying weed should be 19. Ottawa has set a minimum age of 18 — which has the support of 21 per cent of Yukoners — but is allowing provinces and territories to set their own minimum ages.

Respondents also support allowing local growers, with 84 per cent in favour.

Only 43 per cent of people surveyed said they favoured licence suspensions for people caught driving stoned.

The federal government plans to legalize cannabis by July 2018. But it has left it up to the provinces and territories to make their own specific rules and regulations.

Some provinces, such as Ontario, are opting for a strictly public sector model, with harsh penalties for anyone who tries to sell pot privately. Others, such as Manitoba, have signalled they will pursue a mixed public-private model.

The Yukon survey was conducted between Aug. 10 and Sept. 30 by the Yukon Bureau of Statistics. More than 3,100 people filled out at least part of the survey. Complete results are available online.

Contact Chris Windeyer at editor@yukon-news.com

This story orginially gave the wrong federal minimum age for buying cannabis. The story has been updated to correct the error.

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