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A statewide poll commissioned by an organization backing Gov. Gary
Johnson's drug-reform package shows overwhelming support for
decriminalizing marijuana and making "medical marijuana" legal for
certain patients.

The poll - conducted by Research & Polling Inc. of Albuquerque -
surveyed 504 registered voters in New Mexico about various
drug-related issues being considered in the current session of the
state Legislature.

Reaction to the poll was predictable. Supporters of bills in Johnson's
drug package embraced the results. However, Rep. Ron Godbey,
R-Albuquerque, a leading legislative opponent, said the poll was suspect.

The poll, conducted in February, was paid for by the Lindesmith
Center, a New York-based think tank that has actively worked for the
passage of Johnson's drug package.

The poll's margin of error is 4.4 percent.

Among the most significant findings:

- 65 percent said they support a proposal to make possession of less
than an ounce of marijuana a civil infraction, punishable by a fine.
Only 29 percent opposed the idea.

- 78 percent support making marijuana available for medical use by
seriously ill or terminal patients in order to reduce pain or nausea.
Only 16 percent said they opposed the idea.

- 63 percent support a proposal to send people to drug treatment,
rather than prison, for first and second offenses of possession of
heroin and cocaine.

- 65 percent agreed that more emphasis should be placed on treating
drug users medically and increasing drug-prevention programs than
sending drug users to prison.

- 59 percent supported a proposal to spend about $10 million to
expand drug-treatment programs.

The poll also found that voters are skeptical of the government's "war
on drugs." Sixty-one percent said current drug policies have been
ineffective in the state. Thirty-three percent said the anti-drug
effort has been effective.

According to the poll, there is not a tremendous difference between
Democrats and Republicans on several key issues.

For instance, the marijuana decriminalization proposal was supported
by 60 percent of Republicans, 66 percent of Democrats and 75 percent
of those who identified themselves as independents.

The proposal about treatment instead of jail for first and second
offenses of possession of heroin and cocaine was supported by 59
percent of Republicans, 63 percent of Democrats and 73 percent of

Newshawk: Cannabis News - marijuana, hemp, and cannabis news
Pubdate: Tue, 06 Mar 2001
Source: Santa Fe New Mexican (NM)
Copyright: 2001 The Santa Fe New Mexican
Contact: letters@sfnewmexican.com
Address: 202 E Marcy, Santa Fe, N.M. 87501
Fax: (505) 986-3040
Feedback: http://www.sfnewmexican.com/letterstoeditor/submitform.las
Website: santafenewmexican.com | News, opinion and sports from Santa Fe and Northern New Mexico
Author: Steve Terrell, The New Mexican
Bookmarks: For items about New Mexico Overload Warning
Overload Warning (Johnson, Gary)
Overload Warning (Lindesmith Center)
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