According to a survey commissioned by Organigram Inc., a leading licensed producer of medical marijuana, a majority of Canadian parents (60 per cent) are concerned about cannabis legalization. More than half of the parents surveyed (54 per cent) feel there is currently not enough information available to youth about the risks associated with cannabis use and only three in ten parents feel “very prepared” to educate their children about cannabis.

“As we move toward the legalization of cannabis, it’s important that we take pulse checks along the way,” said Ray Gracewood, Organigram chief commercial officer. “By asking parents how they feel, we get a real-time sense of not only what’s keeping Canadian parents up at night, but the opportunities we have, as a company and as an industry, and in collaboration with healthcare professionals and educators, to address their concerns. If the safety of youth is a priority of legalization, this discussion is critical.”

The survey also revealed that:

  • Nearly half of parents (46 per cent) with children aged four and up have already discussed cannabis legalization with their children, though only one-quarter (26 per cent) of that group have discussed this in detail. One in ten (9 per cent) do not plan on discussing legalization with their children.
  • One-third of all parents (35 per cent) feel “very confident” they could recognize signs of cannabis use in their child.
  • Two-thirds of parents (67 per cent) are most trusting of physicians or other healthcare professionals when it comes to information to help parents educate children about cannabis and its appropriate use.
  • Canadian parents feel it is important to have information on topics relating to: the perception that cannabis use leading to the use of “harder” drugs (84 per cent); the comparative effects of different forms of cannabis (e.g. edibles compared to smoking cannabis) (88 per cent); and the likelihood of cannabis use leading to tobacco use (74 per cent).

When asked about the education of youth about cannabis, the top priority that parents identified from a list of potential priorities for children is the importance of not driving under the influence of cannabis (87 per cent). Other top priorities include the negative effects of cannabis use on their bodies (75 per cent), how to turn down offers to use cannabis (75 per cent), and risks of use with other substances (74 per cent).

“Legalization is coming and this research highlights the fact that Canadian parents have concerns,” said Dr. Michael Verbora, Aleafia Total Health chief medical officer. “Ask yourself: what are your concerns? I would encourage parents to seek information on the risks and realities from a credible source, like a physician or health authority, and start having those conversations now. Knowledge is power and will be key to proactive, open dialogue in Canadian homes. Frank discussion and well-informed families will help protect youth in this new era of cannabis legalization.”

Environics Research conducted an online survey of 1,005 Canadian parents with children under the age of 18 who live in their home at least part of the time. Quotas were in place to ensure representation by province, gender and by age of child. The survey was in field from June 26 to July 9.