A Red C poll commissioned by TheJournal.ie and carried out on 1000 adults has found only 39% of people are in favour of legalising the use of recreational cannabis.
There is however significantly more support for the medical use of cannabis, with 54% of respondents in favour.
TheJournal.ie reports that a majority (56%) of 18-34 year-olds support legalizing cannabis for both recreational and medicinal use, whilst 37% say it should be for medicinal use only.
Among 35-54 year-olds, only 41% of people support legalizing cannabis for both medicinal and recreational reasons, whilst a slim majority of 53% support its medicinal use.
Only 21% of those over the age of 55 support legalizing cannabis for both medicinal and recreational reasons, whilst 70% support its medicinal use.
3% of 18-34 year-olds say it shouldn’t be legalised on either medicinal or recreational grounds, a figure that grows to 5% among 35-54 year-olds and 6% among over 55’s.
Females (34%) were less supportive than males (44%) when asked about legalizing the recreational use of cannabis, whilst those in urban areas were more supportive (43%) than those in rural areas (29%).
The poll, which took place between 6-12 May, follows a warning from the College of Psychiatrists of Ireland (CPsychI) that cannabis use poses the “gravest threat to the mental health of young people in Ireland today”, with some doctors reporting drug use among children as young as seven.
Calling on the government to introduce a public awareness campaign about the dangers of cannabis, the psychiatrists’ group, which represents over 1,000 professionals around the country, say one in three young people will become addicted if they use the drug on a weekly basis.
A new leaflet released by CPsychI says cannabis use can be linked to psychosis, self-harm, suicidal behaviour, depression and anxiety, pointing to increased THC levels as a major factor in the effects of “high-potency” cannabis.
“Cannabis represents the gravest threat to the mental health of young people in Ireland today. It is by far the most widely used illegal drug in the country and we know that its potency has spiked in recent years, leading to a significant rise in hospital admissions among young people with a cannabis-related diagnosis,” President of the CPsychI Dr. William Flannery said.
“However, despite this there is still a general feeling among the public that the drug is mostly harmless. This conception needs to be challenged at every turn because psychiatric services are under huge pressure due to this problem.”