The overwhelming majority of Canadians think that marijuana should be fully decriminalized, according to a new Ipsos Reid poll for Postmedia News and Global TV. From Leader Post:

It found that 66 per cent of people believe that “the possession of marijuana in small amounts” should be “decriminalized so that it no longer carries a penalty or fine.” Another 34 per cent opposed the idea.

Support for decriminalization is strongest in Atlantic Canada (72 per cent) followed by British Columbia, Saskatchewan/Manitoba and Ontario — in all three regions, support for decriminalization runs at 69 per cent.

Back in 1987 only 39 percent of Canadians supported decriminalization, but support for marijuana has grown steadily for decades. The people of Canada are becoming more familiar with marijuana; as a result they have become less hostile towards it.

This mirrors the same general trend in public opinion about marijuana seen in Canada’s neighbor to the South, the United States. In the USA ending marijuana prohibition was a fringe policy idea only 15 years ago, but now marijuana legalization is supported by a majority of adults.

Despite the strong public support for marijuana decriminalization in Canada, don’t expect the national government to improve its marijuana policies anytime soon. Prime Minister Stephen Harper and his Conservative Party remain firmly opposed to liberalizing the nation’s marijuana laws.