According to a new survey, 72 percent of New Mexico voters are in favor of legalizing marijuana, while 49 percent say they also favor broadly decriminalizing drug possession. But, the majority support for sweeping drug policy reforms does not end there.
The survey, which was undertaken by the advocacy group Drug Policy Action (DPA), asked participants, “Do you support or oppose a proposal to legalize, tax, and regulate cannabis, also known as marijuana, sales to adults 21 and over, with provisions in place to ensure the tax revenue is reinvested back into communities?”
72 percent of respondents said “yes.” Among them were 94 percent of Democrats, 46 percent of Republicans, and 93 percent of Independents.
After the initial question, researchers asked about other major drug policy changes. Solid majorities came out in favor of each potential measure.
Topping the list, support for reducing cannabis licensing fees to spur the growth of small businesses came in at 80 percent.
Next in popularity, 68 percent said the state should no longer deny public benefits or health care to those who test positive for weed.
Among the other findings, 67 percent support the expungement of prior pot-related convictions; 62 percent said the state should grant financial aid to low-income medical marijuana patients; and 58 percent said that “marijuana odor” should no longer qualify as an excuse for police to stop a vehicle.
Beyond weed, the pollsters also inquired about other drug reform topics, asking participants if they “support or oppose making small-scale possession of all drugs for personal use a misdemeanor, instead of a felony which carries steeper penalties.”
62 percent said they favored reducing possession charges, while 31 percent said they were against it.
The respondents who supported the idea were then asked, “Do you support or oppose making possession, not selling, of all drugs for personal use a civil offense with a fine instead of jail time?”
79 percent of that pool said they support decriminalization, while 16 percent opposed it. Doing the math, that indicates that 49 percent of New Mexico residents are in favor of decriminalizing drugs.
In a press release regarding the survey, DPA’s Emily Kaltenbach stated, “New Mexicans are ready for cannabis legalization, and they want to see equity built into the legislative proposal to help right the many wrongs caused by the failed war on drugs. Repairing the damage done by cannabis prohibition is not negotiable. It is time to stop criminalizing people for cannabis and instead realize the economic and social benefits of having cannabis possession and sales regulated in New Mexico.”
Unlike Arizona, Mississippi, Montana, New Jersey, and South Dakota, legal weed isn’t on the ballot in New Mexico for next month’s election, but Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham strongly favors legalization. Make it happen, Land of Enchantment!