Marking 20 years
of bold journalism,
reader supported.

The Americas on Drugs

Some North and South American views about narcotics and the law.

Angus Reid 11 May

[Editor's note: This is part of a Tyee series sharing the global scan of Angus Reid Consultants, Vancouver-based leaders in public opinion analysis.]

While Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper ponders whether to allow Vancouver's safe-injection site to remain in operation and churns up controversy by pledging mandatory sentences for making and selling hard drugs, Mexico recently came razor close to decriminalizing small amounts of marijuana, cocaine, heroin and other narcotics. Here's a quick glance at some interesting international opinion about drugs and the law.

In Canada, 75 percent of respondents would not vote for a candidate who used cocaine or heroin. If the substance is marijuana, opposition to a politician drops to 26 percent. For more information, click here

In both Canada and the U.S., a majority of respondents think marijuana-related arrests should not necessarily lead to a criminal record. For more information, click here

In Alaska, most residents are opposed to a plan that would prohibit the possession of any amount of marijuana for personal use in the state. For more information, click here

In Nevada, home to Las Vegas, a poll showed only 43 percent in favour of changing tough, existing laws. In the U.S., questions regarding the legalization and decriminalization of marijuana have never been approved in a public vote. For more information, click here

In the United States, 65 percent of Americans think medical marijuana should remain legal and 68 percent think the federal government should not prosecute patients. For more information, click here

Mexicans last year were not thrilled with the prospects of marijuana decriminalization-only 26.4 percent supported the proposal. For more information, click here

In Chile, traditionally the most conservative country in Latin America, a clear majority regards marijuana as a harmful drug. For more information, click here

In Peru, the enforcement of a ban on the cultivation of coca leaf split public views last year. For more information, click here

And one more interesting poll result, this from the Old World:

Britain established a clear difference between soft and hard drugs, with a clear majority typifying marijuana possession as either permissible or as a minor offence. For more information, click here

TrendWatch runs twice monthly on The Tyee.  [Tyee]

  • Share:

Facts matter. Get The Tyee's in-depth journalism delivered to your inbox for free

Tyee Commenting Guidelines

Comments that violate guidelines risk being deleted, and violations may result in a temporary or permanent user ban. Maintain the spirit of good conversation to stay in the discussion.
*Please note The Tyee is not a forum for spreading misinformation about COVID-19, denying its existence or minimizing its risk to public health.


  • Be thoughtful about how your words may affect the communities you are addressing. Language matters
  • Challenge arguments, not commenters
  • Flag trolls and guideline violations
  • Treat all with respect and curiosity, learn from differences of opinion
  • Verify facts, debunk rumours, point out logical fallacies
  • Add context and background
  • Note typos and reporting blind spots
  • Stay on topic

Do not:

  • Use sexist, classist, racist, homophobic or transphobic language
  • Ridicule, misgender, bully, threaten, name call, troll or wish harm on others
  • Personally attack authors or contributors
  • Spread misinformation or perpetuate conspiracies
  • Libel, defame or publish falsehoods
  • Attempt to guess other commenters’ real-life identities
  • Post links without providing context


The Barometer

Are You Concerned about AI?

Take this week's poll