Age-old debate over cannabis

Published on November 15, 2018 by David Wylie

You can drink at 19, but when should you legally be allowed to smoke up?

That’s a question the Angus Reid Institute put to 1,500 Canadians.

It found three-quarters of Canadians believe the minimum age to purchase and consume cannabis should be raised.

  • 27% say that 18, the number set by the federal government as the minimum in any jurisdiction, is the right age
  • 26% believe that 21 would be more appropriate
  • 23% per cent would like to see the age raised even higher


It may not surprise you that the older you are, the likelier you are to say the minimum age should be raised.

The likelihood of younger people being are cool with 18 as the minimum is, ahem, higher.

Other findings

  • Albertans and Atlantic Canadians are most likely to say their province chose the correct minimum age for cannabis use and purchase
  • The age of 21 appears to be a dividing point for Canada. Half of respondents (51%) say the minimum age should be 20 or under, while half (49%) say 21 or over.
  • Canadians are much more likely to have visited an online cannabis store in October than to have visited a physical store (16% to 6%) but equally as likely to have purchased from each – 4 per cent said they made a purchase online or in person.


PS: Holy smokes! One-in-four Canadians shopped for, purchased, or used cannabis during first two weeks of legalization. Here’s how many people used it:

The Angus Reid Institute conducted an online survey from Oct. 24 – 29, 2018, among a representative randomized sample of 1,500 Canadian adults. Margin of error: +/- 2.5 percentage points, 19 times out of 20.

This story appeared in our Nov. 16, 2018, newsletter.