Report on Weed Use Prompts Call for Legalization

A report released Thursday that shows the number of pot smokers in the world has grown to more than 160 million people has Canadian advocates renewing calls for legalization of the drug.

An Australian study, citing United Nations data from 2006 and published Thursday in the journal Lancet, found that about 166 million people aged 15-64 — or an estimated one in 25 in that age range — reported using cannabis. That’s up from about 159 million people in 2005.

“It’s not going away. So should one in 25 people be criminalized for smoking pot?” asked Eugene Oscapella, an Ottawa professor and spokesman for the Canadian Foundation For Drug Policy. “What this number says to me is the world is not drug free. Some people prefer alcohol over cannabis and some people prefer cannabis.”

The foundation is urging the Canadian government to legalize and regulate marijuana, by allowing people to grow their own and taxing sales the way it regulates alcohol or tobacco.

While the Australian study found pot use was greatest in the U.S., Australia and New Zealand, followed by Europe, another report — from the United Nations — shows marijuana use in this country is actually the highest in the industrialized world.

That 2007 report, by the UN Office on Drugs and Crime, found 16.8 per cent of Canadians aged 15 to 64 smoked marijuana or used other cannabis products in 2004. That’s the most recent year for which statistics were cited.

“I’d say 70 or 80 per cent of my university students smoke pot and they are perfectly normal people,” said Oscapella. “If you’ve ever tried it you know its no big deal. So why are we using criminal law to deal with this behaviour? That’s the real issue.”

Other figures — from Statistics Canada — show the number of Canadians using cannabis is on the rise, from 6.5 per cent of Canadians in 1989, to 7.4 per cent in 1994 and then to 12.2 per cent in 2002.

The largest concentration of marijuana use in Canada is in British Columbia, while residents of Newfoundland, Prince Edward Island, Ontario, Manitoba and Saskatchewan had lower-than-average rates.

B.C. also leads the country in marijuana production with 40 per cent of Canadian cannabis produced there. That’s followed by Ontario at 25 per cent and another 25 per cent in Quebec, the UN report said.

Unlike Canada, in Australia and New Zealand — where eight per cent of the population use cannabis — the numbers there are declining, the Australian study says. It says a similar trend is also happening in western Europe.

The full report, which analyzes the adverse effects of cannabis use, can be viewed at

– Article from The Vancouver Sun.



  1. Anonymous on

    Pot has many medical values and for people who cannot tolerate pills or alcohol (like me) it is an excellent Natural Alternative!

    Please just legalize it. Spend time & money busting “real drugs” like heroin & meth.

  2. Anonymous on

    I wonder then how come when I go to the herborist or natural herb center or phytotherapist and ask him whether he could sell me some herb, his eyes becomes exorbited as if he was going to have seizures or as if hes gonna call the police immediately but when I asked a weedo (sorry,weirdo) for some weed,I always get a smile.
    Once I went in a shop and asked for cannabis smelling incense and got that FDL (fucking dirty look) from the salesman who thought useful to add: I don’t want to carry this kind of item in my store for fear of being arrested kind of attitude.

  3. heide on

    lets get this straight cannabis is not a weed…..!!!!!!!!!!!!!
    it is an HERB,,a green seed yielding HERB
    used since before even recorded history,,all over the world……….
    for healing,,food,,spiritual use..mind expansion……..ect
    the white man called cannabis a weed because no matter what he did it contiues to flourish and will,,even after weve exterminated ourselves………
    so stop calling one of the most beneficial herbs on earth a weed…cause it aint…..
    sister cannabis will in the end win………

  4. Brian Kerr on

    The Green party is the only party that will legalize Cannabis. ALL THE OTHER PARTIES ARE PROHIBITIONIST. So if you want LEGALIZATION you must vote GREEN.

    Jack Layton has no fucking balls. He has turned his back on the cannabis community and is now a PROHIBITIONIST.

    The NeoCon Party are Evangelical Christian Whack Jobs. Who wish to impose their moral beliefs on Canadians by the threat of valiance.

    The Liberal party supported the NeoCon bill c-15 and believe in harsher anti cannabis laws and their leader supported George Bush and he supports the wars.

    The NDP at leased did not support bill c-15 but they do support drug prohibition which makes them fucking stupid and not vote able.

    The Block is the best thing that has happened for Canada as they will block a majority Parliament. If I was in Quebec I would probably vote for them for that reason alone.

    Green Party is the ONLY party which favors Cannabis legalization. So if you want to end this evil war on drug users it is the only party to vote for.

    I was a life long NDPer Not Any More.

    There is no issue more important in the world than to end drug prohibition. Nothing is more important as prohibition is the cause of most of the violence, corruption and the waste of resources which could be used to help people live better lives.

  5. Anonymous on

    “For over two decades, cannabis, commonly known as marijuana, has been the most widely used illicit drug by young
    people in high-income countries, and has recently become popular on a global scale. Epidemiological research during
    the past 10 years suggests that regular use of cannabis during adolescence and into adulthood can have adverse
    effects. Epidemiological, clinical, and laboratory studies have established an association between cannabis use and
    adverse outcomes. We focus on adverse health effects of greatest potential public health interest—that is, those that
    are most likely to occur and to affect a large number of cannabis users. The most probable adverse effects include a
    dependence syndrome, increased risk of motor vehicle crashes, impaired respiratory function, cardiovascular disease,
    and adverse effects of regular use on adolescent psychosocial development and mental health.”

    Here are the lies.

    “impaired respiratory function, cardiovascular disease,”

    There is very little to no diferance in lung function between Cannabis smokers and non smokers of any thing.

    Cannabis does not cause cardiovascular diesease, Dr Donald Taskin in his 30 years of studies of cannabis and smoking related dieseas found no rise in the risk of Cancer, Enpheseima, or polminary obstructive diesese and actually found a protective effect where smokers of cannabis have less chance of getting cancer than people who don’t smoke at all and people who smoke cigaretts and canabis have less cancer than cigaretts only smokers.

    “adverse effects of regular use on adolescent psychosocial development and mental health”

    There is no problems with psychosocial development or mental health to any great degree. Cannabis does not cause psychosis. The only problem with Cannabis use in young people is when they use a lot of it before their brains are fully developed. There is some evidence that young users can suffer an IQ drop of about 5 points. This is an other reason to legalize Cannabis for adults. Put age limit of 18 or 19 like alcohol so that kids will not be able to purchase it.

    This stuff really burns my butt when a so called respected medical journal lies about cannabis and for fuck sakes you don’t have to smoke the stuff. Vaporize it for god sakes or eat it or both. Cannabis dependiency……PLEASE GIVE ME A BREAK ! Cannabis is less addictive than Coffee. What is the problem with being dependent on using a plant that helps you protect you from cancer.

  6. Anonymous on

    Every one of the hypocrites that sit as elected officials know that if the effects of smoking a joint were half as severe as the devastation of the effects of the laws against smoking a joint no one would smoke a joint? Making it best to for the elected officials to swallow the pill and change the law. Legalize it!

  7. Anonymous on

    Yes it is. And the Green Party is making this division of votes WORSE, not better.

    Jodie Emery should seriously rethink her candidacy in the Green Party. The diversion of 7-10% of the electorate from the NDP and Liberals to the Green Party is responsible for the success of the Conservative Party in this country.

    If a Liberal government was in power, Marc would be transferred to Canada and permitted to serve his sentence here – and be paroled here.

    As long as the Conservatives remain in power – he won’t be coming home early. As long as the Conservatives remain in power, there will be no legalization or even decriminalization of pot.

    That may be a bitter pill to swallow but refusing to accept the bitter truth helps nobody. The Green Party is doing real political harm in Canada and allowing a minority of the voters to secure power while the majority of voters become divided.

    This madness must stop.

  8. one12alpha on

    Even imprisonment cannot stop people from using cannabis. I certainly makes it more difficult, but people still are able to obtain and use cannabis in prison. Its often times brought in by the guards. The prohibition causes problems with drug lords on the outside, and they only get worse behind bars. The profit margin for cannabis is nearly tenfold in a prison, and if a monopoly is gained its even worse.

    Your certainly right. Its like prohibiting ice cream. Though, I think you might be more successful in that attempt. Times are changing though. People are not so easily won by govt propaganda. I think people are more and more feeling that the govt is a lost cause, and out of control.

    “the loser now will be later the win, for the times they are a changing”–Bob Dylan

  9. JACK! on

    Canada has two liberal parties which combined outpolled the conservatives in the last election.

    If they combined forces, Marc would not be in jail and cannabis would be legal.

    That is the real problem.

  10. Anonymous on

    How can prohibition of something which is easily produced, makes people feel good and has no significant negative side effects ever be successful? It’s like telling people not to eat ice cream. They can only stop people from using Cannabis by imprisoning them. As soon as they let them out they’ll go get some more. What are they going to do, lock everybody up for their whole lives to prevent them from using Cannabis? Seems a little impractical to me. If they could explain to me that Cannabis use is a losing proposition and will do me more harm than good then I might have a good reason to stop. They can’t do that, because it’s not true. If they want to tell the truth then they will have to tell me that they want me not to use Cannabis just because they say so and because they threaten to do bad things to me if I do. I’m not going to knuckle under to that. In fact, I’ll use twice as much as I otherwise would have if they hadn’t threatened me. That tactic worked well, didn’t it Harpy?

  11. bubner on

    166 million people all with family and friends. This war on a plant affects billions. I don’t think the boomers are going to stop at age 64 and when I retire at 65 I plan to smoke more to keep the dementia away.

  12. Anonymous on

    “Perfectly normal people” who have smoked pot are no more normal then those who would argue the point. How is it normal that people who know that the marijuana laws cause more harm then any ill effect from smoking a joint, yet people in North America are going to jail for procurement reasons! It is the year 2009, and if you can take me to drug court and show me a lawyer that has not or does not smoke pot, including the Judge is the exception to the rule. What is not normal is the Conservatives trying to make it a mandatory 1 year sentence for 5 or more plants? It is not normal the neo right getting away with telling my what my rights are?