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Is Cannabis a Drug? That Depends on Where You Live

Do you consider cannabis a drug? You might think the answer is a no-brainer, but as it turns out, people are much more divided on the issue than you might think, according to the 2019 Civilized Cannabis Culture poll.

Civilized partnered with PSB research and Burson Cohn & Wolf to survey 1000 US adults and over 600 Canadian adults about cannabis culture. The poll found that while the US has targeted cannabis in the War on Drugs for decades, most American cannabis consumers (56 percent) say that marijuana is not a drug. The 2019 poll found that the opposite was the case in the Great White North. Despite the fact that Canada legalized cannabis last October, most Canadian consumers (58 percent) still think marijuana is a drug. Which might mean that old stigmas die hard, or that Canadian cannabis connoisseurs aren't put off by using the d-word to describe their favorite herb. 

Meanwhile, the majority of non-consumers in both America (68 percent) and Canada (85 percent) consider cannabis a drug. But that's not necessarily a bad thing. Those 85 percent of non-consumers in Canada didn't rise up against the federal government last year when Prime Minister Justin Trudeau followed through on his campaign pledge to repeal cannabis prohibition. And 54 percent of non-consumers in America support legalizing, regulating and taxing cannabis — even though they're not interested in smoking it.

So you can call cannabis a drug, or a medicine, or an herb, or whatever else you want. It doesn't matter to most Americans and Canadians as long as it's legal.

The Cannabis Culture Poll is an annual study commissioned by Civilized in partnership with PSB Research and Burson Cohn & Wolfe. In March 2019, the poll surveyed 1,602 adults from coast-to-coast in the U.S. and Canada. The research groups, consisting of both cannabis consumers and non-users, were asked a variety of questions about their views about cannabis as well behaviors, habits, and personal experiences.


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