Two in three in Vancouver approve of dispensaries

Kingsway, where Van City Medicinals is located, has become popular with dispensaries

Acceptance of dispensaries high, but not universal, as city prepares to shut dozens down

Two-thirds of Vancouver residents think that marijuana dispensaries should be allowed to operate while less than a quarter said they should not, according to a poll from Forum Research released Tuesday, days before the city is set to shut down dozens of illegal dispensaries on Friday, May 1.

The poll found support highest among young respondents (82 per cent), the wealthy (73 per cent of those who make between $80,000 and $100,000) and, no surprise here, those who have used marijuana in the past (82 per cent). Opposition was highest among older voters (36 per cent) and homeowners (32 per cent). Openness toward marijuana dispensaries also correlated with voting preferences in the 2014 municipal election—48 per cent of those who voted for Kirk LaPointe for mayor disapprove of dispensaries.

“It appears social acceptance of these dispensaries is leading political and official acceptance, and most Vancouverites don’t appear to have a big problem with them, even in their own neighbourhoods,” said Lorne Bozinoff, Forum Research president, in a statement.

Over the past three years, over 150 ostensibly illegal dispensaries serving medical marijuana have popped up in Vancouver, as the Vancouver Police Department has backed off of enforcement, and as uncertainty spread over changing federal rules governing the production and distribution of prescriptive pot. Vancouver’s widespread distribution of dispensaries, which have also popped up in Victoria, Abbotsford and Kelowna, have caused headaches for the country’s regulated mail-order producers as they’ve seen themselves largely shut out of Canada’s largest market for pot.

The Forum poll shed a little bit of light into who in Vancouver is consuming medical marijuana. Twelve per cent of the poll’s 1,033 respondents said that they either have a prescription for medical marijuana or may have one (and do not deny it). The most likely constituents were younger respondents, 21 per cent, those who rent rather than own, 17 per cent, and those who have used marijuana in the past.

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