Canadians Endorse Pardons for Simple Possession of Marijuana

Two thirds of Canadians agree with cannabis being legal in Canada, as reliance on licensed retailers increases.

Vancouver, BC [October 12, 2022] – More than three-in-five Canadians are in favour of a plan to pardon people convicted of simple possession of marijuana, a new Research Co. poll has found.

In the online survey of a representative national sample, 64% of Canadians agree with the federal government providing expungement orders to people convicted of possession of cannabis for personal use with no intent to traffic.

In Canada, an expungement order compels police forces, federal departments or agencies to destroy or remove any judicial record of a conviction.

“The issue of pardons for simple possession of marijuana is not particularly divisive politically,” says Mario Canseco, President of Research Co. “Sizeable majorities of Canadians who voted for the New Democrats (78%), the Liberals (70%) and the Conservatives (63%) in 2021 believe it is the right course of action.”

Two thirds of Canadians (66%, +2 since a similar Research Co. poll conducted in April 2021) agree with cannabis being legal in Canada.

There are some significant differences among Canadians of different ethnic backgrounds when it comes to marijuana. Majorities of Canadians of Indigenous (80%), European (68%) and South Asian (57%) heritage agree with cannabis being legal in the country, compared to just 41% of those of East Asian descent.

While half of Canadians (50%) have never tried marijuana, about two-in-five (39%) used cannabis before it became legal in October 2018.

Just over one-in-ten Canadians (11%) consumed it only after legalization—a proportion that rises to 16% among those aged 18-to-34.

Almost half of Canadians who have used marijuana after legalization (48%) say they acquired “all” of their product at a licensed retailer, up 10 points since 2021.

There is also a reduction in the proportion of marijuana consumers who have not bought any cannabis from a licensed retailer, from 20% in April 2021 to 15% this month.

Few Canadians think it is time to make other substances legal in Canada, including ecstasy (10%, -4), powder cocaine (10%, -6), heroin (10%, -5), fentanyl (8%,-6), crack cocaine (8%, -5) and methamphetamine or “crystal meth” (8% -5).

Three-in-five Canadians (60%, -1) believe companies should be able to administer “drug tests” to any employee now that marijuana is legal in Canada, even if they do not operate machinery (such as pilots, truck drivers or crane operators).


Results are based on an online survey conducted from October 1 to October 3, 2022, among 1,000 adults in Canada. The data has been statistically weighted according to Canadian census figures for age, gender and region in Canada. The margin of error—which measures sample variability—is plus or minus 3.1 percentage points, 19 times out of 20.

Find our data tables here and download the press release here. 

For more information on this poll, please contact:

Mario Canseco, President, Research Co.

778.929.0490 [e]