Three Out of Four New Mexicans Support Making Medical Marijuana Available to Seriously Ill or Terminal Patients

Press Release February 13, 2007
Media Contact

Reena Szczepanski at (505) 699-0798 or Tommy McDonald at (505) 983-3277

Santa Fe–A statewide poll of New Mexico voters, commissioned by the Drug Policy Alliance, found that 75 percent of New Mexicans support making marijuana available to seriously ill or terminal patients to ease pain and suffering from the symptoms of their illnesses.

The poll comes as the Lynn and Erin Compassionate Use Act (SB 238) moves through the state Legislature. SB 238, which would make marijuana available to seriously ill or terminal patients in order to reduce the pain and suffering of illnesses such as cancer, AIDS and glaucoma, was approved by the Senate by a margin of 34-7 last week. The fate of the bill now rests with the House of Representatives. SB 238 has been assigned to the Agriculture and Water Resources Committee and the House Judiciary Committee.

The poll found that not only do voters strongly support allowing the use of medical marijuana, respondents said they will be more likely to vote for a candidate who favors it. According to the poll results, almost half of voters (42 percent) would be more likely to for a candidate who voted to allow access to marijuana for medical purposes with a medical provider’s recommendation. Only 17 percent of voters polled would be less inclined to support a candidate who voted to allow the use of medical marijuana, and 33 percent say it would make no difference.

“Instead of dividing voters, the issue of medical marijuana unites them. New Mexico voters strongly support making medical marijuana available to those with serious medical conditions and who would benefit from it,” said Reena Szczepanski, director of the Drug Policy Alliance New Mexico. “These results reveal the level of compassion New Mexicans have for our most vulnerable–the sick and dying. I hope the members of the house hear the voice of the people and understand that this is an issue of great importance to New Mexicans.”

Last week, Governor Bill Richardson issued a statement of support for SB 238 and pledged to work with the Legislature to get the bill passed.

The poll also showed that New Mexicans say they would not break the law to obtain cannabis for a close friend or family member was suffering from a condition that could be eased by marijuana. However, respondents say they would be more inclined to attempt to obtain marijuana on the illegal market if they personally know someone who would benefit from it. Nearly one-in-three respondents reported having personal experience with someone who suffers from a condition that would be helped with medical marijuana.

“New Mexicans don’t want to break the law, they just want it changed,” said Szczepanski said.

To receive a copy of the poll or for the latest on the Lynn and Erin Compassionate Use Act, please contact Reena Szczepanski at 699-0798 or Tommy McDonald at 983-3277.

A young woman holds a sign that says "End the Drug War."

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