More than half of Canadians are worried their province isn’t prepared for the soon-to-be legal recreational cannabis market, according to a new survey conducted by the Angus Reid Institute.

The results, released Tuesday, revealed 51 per cent of Canadians are worried their province isn’t ready for looming Oct. 17 legalization date and, in particular, most respondents (60 per cent) aren’t confident their local law enforcement is ready to effectively manage the change.

British Columbia, where only one cannabis store will be open in time for legalization, was the only province where residents were more confident (48 per cent) their government is prepared for legalization than those who were not (40 per cent).

Canadians were also divided over how their communities will be economically impacted by legalization, with 40 per cent overall saying they think there will be a positive effect, while 38 per cent disagree.  Quebec, B.C., and Alberta  were the only provinces where more residents agreed legalization would bring their communities economic benefits, while Ontarians were evenly split.

The full economic impact of the legalized recreational cannabis is not yet known, but CIBC analysts predict the market could be worth close to $6.5 billion by 2020.

The survey also revealed that while 62 per cent of Canadians support legalization, many are divided over the ability of the government to reduce organized crime. Nearly one-quarter of respondents (23 per cent) believe the level of organized crime won’t be affected at all and will still profit, while 39 per cent believe organized crime will be hit hard.  

In addition, 57 per cent of respondents don’t think legalization will deter minors from using more pot, one of Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s motivations for legalizing cannabis.

The Angus Reid Institute survey was conducted online between Sept. 4 and Sept. 7 among a random sample of 1,500 Canadian adults.

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