Canadians Believe Occurrences of Impaired Driving (58%), Addiction (45%) Will Increase as a result of Legalizing Marijuana

One in three (32%) Marijuana Users Say It’s Okay to Smoke Marijuana and then Drive; Two in Ten (20%) Users say they’re Likely to Drive After Consuming Marijuana

Saturday, April 15, 2017

Toronto, ON – As the government moves forward with its intentions to legalize the consumption of marijuana for recreational uses in Canada, a new Ipsos poll conducted on behalf of Global News has revealed that Canadians believe the legislation could lead to more occurrences of impaired driving and addiction.

If marijuana is legalized, Canadians perceive some positive and some negative implications as a result:

    Six in ten (58%) believe that occurrences of impaired driving will increase, while 5% think they will decrease and 37% think they will stay about the same. Quebecers (69%) are by far the most likely across the country to believe that impaired driving will happen more frequently, as are those aged 55+ (68%).
  • Nearly half (45%) believe that addiction problems in Canada will increase, while 9% think they’ll decrease and 46% believe they’ll stay about the same. Those aged 55+ are most likely (53%) to believe that addiction problems will increase, and a majority (53%) of Quebecers feel the same way.
  • Four in ten (42%) believe that tourism to Canada will increase, while 5% think tourism will decrease, and 53% believe it will stay about the same.
  • Four in ten (36%) believe that social problems in Canada will increase, while 12% think they will decrease and 53% say they will stay about the same.
  • One in three (33%) believe the strain on the legal system will increase, while a comparable amount (31%) say it will decrease, and 36% think it will be about the same.

Three Quarters Agree Impaired Driving by Marijuana or Alcohol Should be Treated Equally; But One in Three (32%) Users Say It’s Okay to Smoke Marijuana and then Drive

With a majority of Canadians believing that impaired driving will be on the rise when marijuana is legalized, three quarters (75%) of Canadians ‘agree’ (58% strongly/18% somewhat) that diving while impaired by alcohol or by marijuana should be treated equally under the law in Canada, although this is down 5 points since a poll conducted last December. In fact, just four in ten (42%) ‘agree’ (9% strongly/33% somewhat) that the ‘government has adequately considered the impact of legalizing marijuana on road safety’, unchanged since December.

Some Canadians appear to have a more relaxed attitude about marijuana and driving, most especially those who are current users of marijuana. Users are more likely than the average Canadian to agree that driving while high is more acceptable than driving drunk, that laws governing marijuana and driving should be more relaxed, to say that they feel comfortable driving while high, and to believe that it’s okay to do so. Most notably, 7% of Canadians say they’re likely (3% very/4% somewhat) to drive a vehicle after consuming marijuana, rising to 20% among current users (9% very likely/10% somewhat likely).

  • Two in ten (21%) Canadians ‘agree’ (5% strongly/16% somewhat) that ‘laws governing impaired driving due to marijuana should be more relaxed than those governing impaired driving due to alcohol’. Men (27%), Millennials (35%) and Albertans (30%) are most inclined to agree. Half (50%) of current marijuana users agree.
  • A similar proportion (22%) ‘agrees’ (7% strongly/16% somewhat) that ‘driving while high on marijuana is more acceptable to me than driving drunk’, down 3 points. One in three (33%) Albertans agree, as do 34% of those aged 18-34. A majority (54%) of users agree.
  • One in ten (14%) ‘agrees’ (3% strongly/10% somewhat) that they ‘feel comfortable driving after consuming marijuana’ even if they might be considered high, down 2 points. Two in ten (18%) men, Millennials (21%), and 27% of Albertans agree. Four in ten (41%) users agree that they feel comfortable driving.
  • One in ten (12%) ‘agrees’ (2% strongly/10% somewhat) that ‘it is okay to smoke marijuana and then drive’, down 6 points. Two in ten (20%) Albertans agree, as do 15% of men and 18% of Millennials. One in three (32%) users agree.
  • These are some of the findings of an Ipsos poll conducted between April 10 and 11, 2017, on behalf of Global News. For this survey, a sample of 1,004 Canadians from Ipsos' online panel was interviewed online. Weighting was then employed to balance demographics to ensure that the sample's composition reflects that of the adult population according to Census data and to provide results intended to approximate the sample universe. The precision of Ipsos online polls is measured using a credibility interval. In this case, the poll is accurate to within +/ - 3.5 percentage points, 19 times out of 20, had all Canadian adults been polled. The credibility interval will be wider among subsets of the population. All sample surveys and polls may be subject to other sources of error, including, but not limited to coverage error, and measurement error.

    For more information on this news release, please contact:

    Darrell Bricker, PhD
    CEO, Global
    Ipsos Public Affairs
    +1 416 324-2001

    About Ipsos Public Affairs

    Ipsos Public Affairs is a non-partisan, objective, survey-based research practice made up of seasoned professionals. We conduct strategic research initiatives for a diverse number of American and international organizations, based not only on public opinion research, but elite stakeholder, corporate, and media opinion research.

    Ipsos has media partnerships with the most prestigious news organizations around the world. In Canada, the U.S., UK, and internationally, Ipsos Public Affairs is the media polling supplier to Reuters News, the world's leading source of intelligent information for businesses and professionals. Ipsos Public Affairs is a member of the Ipsos Group, a leading global survey-based market research company. We provide boutique-style customer service and work closely with our clients, while also undertaking global research.

    About Ipsos

    Ipsos is an independent market research company controlled and managed by research professionals. Founded in France in 1975, Ipsos has grown into a worldwide research group with a strong presence in all key markets. Ipsos ranks third in the global research industry.

    With offices in 88 countries, Ipsos delivers insightful expertise across five research specializations: brand, advertising and media, customer loyalty, marketing, public affairs research, and survey management.

    Ipsos researchers assess market potential and interpret market trends. They develop and build brands. They help clients build long-term relationships with their customers. They test advertising and study audience responses to various media and they measure public opinion around the globe.

    Ipsos has been listed on the Paris Stock Exchange since 1999 and generated global revenues of €1,669.5 ($2,218.4 million) in 2014.

Canadians Believe Occurrences of Impaired Driving (58%), Addiction (45%) Will Increase as a result of Legalizing Marijuana


Darrell Bricker
CEO, Global
Ipsos Public Affairs