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The government of British Columbia found overall support for cannabis consumption spaces among marijuana users and businesses in a 2022 consultation – while non-users and “some public health and safety organizations (and) local governments” expressed opposition.
The B.C. government “is now considering whether cannabis consumption spaces should be permitted,” according to the consultation findings released Tuesday.
Among randomly sampled phone survey respondents to the consultation held between April and May 2022, 61% supported consumption spaces.
Of the 730 telephone survey respondents, 35% had used cannabis at least once in the past year.
However, an online survey generated different results.
Only 34% of online respondents supported consumption spaces – a difference the B.C. government attributed to potential self-selection bias in the online survey “from people who feel strongly either for or against cannabis consumption spaces.”
There were 15,362 online survey respondents, 30% of whom used cannabis in the past year.
“Most people who use cannabis were in support of consumption spaces, as were cannabis retailers, producers, and industry associations who provided written submissions,” according to the government report.
“In contrast, consumption spaces were generally not supported by people who do not use cannabis and from some public health and safety organizations or local governments who provided written submissions.”
The B.C. government estimates there are 1.4 million British Columbians who used cannabis at least once in a 12-month period, and reckons “there may be at least 750,000 people in B.C. who are interested in visiting a cannabis consumption space at least once.”
Indoor smoking or vaping will not be allowed in any potential B.C. consumption spaces, the provincial government said.
“Health and safety are our utmost priorities as we consider how provincial cannabis policies could evolve,” B.C. Minister of Public Safety and Solicitor General Mike Farnworth said in a statement.
B.C. legislator and Parliamentary Secretary for Tourism Brittny Anderson said: “Exploring the feasibility of cannabis-consumption spaces is another way B.C. is working to support the success of the industry.”
She added: “With the recent introduction of a license for farm-gate (cannabis) sales, understanding public opinion on cannabis-related hospitality and agritourism activities is a practical next step.”
The B.C. government held the consultation in light of cannabis businesses’ feedback that “consumption spaces could provide an opportunity for the sector to become more economically viable and could better meet the interests of people who use cannabis.”