Almost 66% of New Mexicans think cannabis should be legalized. 

new mexico recreational cannabis marijuana

Almost 66% of New Mexicans think cannabis should be legalized.

By 710 Editor

By nearly a 2-1 ratio, New Mexico voters say they would most likely support legislation to legalize, regulate and tax marijuana sales to adults, according to a Journal Poll. A majority of voters within the five geographic areas of the state – from liberal north-central New Mexico to the more conservative east – say they would support a plan to legalize marijuana.

new mexico recreational cannabis marijuana

Brian Sanderoff, president of Research & Polling inc., who conducted the survey, said the results reflect a broader modification in public opinion over the years on a range of social issues.“Imagine asking this question 10 years ago in eastern New Mexico,” Sanderoff said in an interview. “We would have found support levels much lower in these conservative strongholds.” Altogether, the survey hows 60 % of likely, registered voters in New Mexico would support a bill to legalize, regulate and tax marijuana sales to adults who are 21 and over. 32 % said they were opposed, and the rest had mixed feelings, didn’t understand or wouldn’t say.

Support levels varied in several elements of the state, however a majority of those polled in each region said they would likely support legalizing marijuana. The results ranged from 73 % support in north-central New Mexico to 52 % in east New Mexico. But there have been stark variations based on party affiliation. 74 % of Democratic voters said they supported marijuana legalization, but only 18 % were opposed.
On the other hand, 53 % were opposed and only 40 % were in support among Republican voters. Unaffiliated voters, or those registered with different parties, offered a stronger support, with 67 % in favor and 29 % opposed.

A majority of each age bracket surveyed additionally said they would most likely support a bill to legalize marijuana, however the percentage of support were much lower among older voters. Among voters ages 18 to 34, 79 % were in support. Among voters ages 65 and older, 51 % were in support. Both Hispanic and Anglo voters said they would most likely support marijuana legalization. The sample sizes for other racial groups were too little to report their results with accuracy. Support seems to be growing over time. In 2014, a Journal Poll that asked the same question found that 50 % of possible voters opposed legalization. 44 % were in support. New Mexico already permits medical marijuana. But proposals to legalize and tax recreational use have repeatedly failed to make it through the legislature. Democrats hold majorities in each chambers, however conservative Democrats have joined Republicans to block the legislation.

Advocates, however, say the political atmosphere is changing. Republican Gov. Susana Martinez, who opposes legalization, cannot run for re-election as a result of term limits, and her two potential successors are split on the problem. On Wednesday night, Democrat Michelle Lujan Grisham said she would be “inclined to sign” a bill to support legalization of recreational marijuana as long as it protects patients’ access to medical cannabis, effectively regulates edibles, fosters workplace safety, limits underage consumption and protects the current medical cannabis program.“The states that have gone to recreational marijuana have been very clear that it’s an economic boost for their states.”

Republican Steve Pearce has opposed legalization. When legalizing marijuana, he said, different states have struggled with some downsides, like driving while intoxicated and use by teens“I do not see how putting one more obstacle in front of people helps them get out of poverty and get back on their feet, so I’ve never been supportive of legalizing recreational marijuana,” he said. When it involves medical marijuana, Lujan Grisham referred to cannabis a “very powerful tool for a variety of serious medical conditions.” Pearce, who was suspicious of that for many years, claims “I have friends who I’ve known my whole life and they will tell me what it’s done for them. So I have come to terms that medical marijuana—fine, we will do it.” But the Democratic Congresswomen exposed him for truly opposing measures on Capitol Hill that may have magnified military veterans’ access to medical cannabis.

The legislature, in any case, remains a barrier to legalization unless key Democrats change their minds. The entire house is up for election this year, however senators aren’t on the ballot until 2020. “I think eventually the day will come in New Mexico when marijuana is legalized,” Sanderoff said. “But there are still some powerful legislators who are skeptical.” The Journal Poll relies on a scientific sample of 423 registered voters who cast ballots within the 2014 and 2016 general elections and said they were most likely to select this year’s election. The poll was conducted Sept. 7-13. The voter sample contains a margin of error of plus or minus 4.8 percentage points. The margin of error grows for subsamples.

Almost 66% of New Mexicans think cannabis should be legalized.

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