Press Release  | 02/25/2013

Tuesday Press Conference: New Poll Shows New Mexico's Growing Momentum for Marijuana Policy Reform

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Two New Mexico State Legislators Introduce Marijuana Reform Legislation Calling for a New Approach

SANTA FE – New polling data about New Mexican’s attitudes towards changes in marijuana policy will be released tomorrow during a press event presented by the Drug Policy Alliance. The new data reflects the state’s shifting outlook on marijuana policy reform and that a majority of New Mexico voters are in favor of reforming our current marijuana laws. The poll was conducted by Research & Polling, Inc. in February, 2013.

Emily Kaltenbach, state director of the New Mexico Drug Policy Alliance, will present the polling results and the event will also include remarks from state legislators, two of whom have recently introduced marijuana reform legislation. Rep. Emily Kane (D-Bernalillo) will discuss her bill to decrease marijuana possession penalties (HB465) and Sen. Gerald Ortiz y Pino will be on hand to answer questions about his Senate Joint Memorial to study the taxation and regulation of marijuana in New Mexico (SJM31).

Who:

  • Senator Gerald Ortiz y Pino
  • Representative Emily Kane
  • Representative Antonio Maestas
  • Emily Kaltenbach, State Director, Drug Policy Alliance

What: Polling data release + press availability with legislators and drug policy reform advocates

Where: Room 318, State Capitol Bldg.

When: Tuesday, February 26, 2013 at 11:15 a.m.

“This is a great opportunity for the press and public to learn that New Mexicans’  are shifting their views on drug policy reform,” said Kaltenbach. “The dramatic shifts we’ve seen on the national level regarding marijuana penalty reduction are also reflected in our state. The money spent arresting, incarcerating, and prosecuting adults for simple marijuana possession could be better spent elsewhere – which is exactly what Rep. Kane’s bill attempts to accomplish. Sen. Ortiz y Pino’s SJM31 is another sensible step toward studying how wasteful New Mexico’s punitive marijuana laws. It will provide lawmakers with empirical data about how marijuana taxation and regulation might benefit the state economy.”

In recent years, American attitudes have shifted dramatically on marijuana-related issues: For the first time, support for marijuana legalization topped 50 percent nationwide last year, according to Gallup, and a recent Mason-Dixon poll found that 67 percent of Republicans believe that the federal government should let states enforce their own medical marijuana laws, rather than prosecute people complying with state law. There is also growing momentum to reduce penalties for small amounts of marijuana, with California reducing penalties in 2010, Connecticut in 2011 and Rhode Island earlier this year. In the most recent November elections, both Colorado and Washington approved initiatives to legalize and regulate the recreational use and commercial production of marijuana.

The Drug Policy Alliance (DPA) is the nation's leading organization of people who believe the war on drugs is doing more harm than good. DPA fights for drug policies based on science, compassion, health and human rights.

Contact: Emily Kaltenbach 505-920-5256 or Tommy McDonald 510-229-5215

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