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Pat Davis is an owner and publisher of The Paper. He also serves as an Albuquerque City Councilor and former chair of the governor's cannabis legalization work group.

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A new poll found that the majority of New Mexicans are in favor of legalizing recreational cannabis.

Last week the Drug Policy Action published the results of a poll conducted by Change Research that asked 1,193 local voters for their views on specific cannabis policies. The poll found that not only are most New Mexicans in favor of legalization, support increases when components addressing racial equity are included.

According to the poll, 72 percent of respondents want to see recreational cannabis legalized in New Mexico as long as provisions are in place that will redirect tax revenue to communities that have been negatively impacted by the drug war. The results were fairly divided along partisan lines, however. Of Democrats polled 94 percent were in favor of legalization, while only 46 percent of Republicans were in favor.

“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,” said Emily Kaltenbach, Senior Director of Resident States and New Mexico at Drug Policy Action. “This legislation must reinvest back into communities most harmed by drug prohibition, which has fallen hardest on Hispanic/Latino, Black and Native populations in New Mexico. 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.”

The majority of participants were also in favor of policies that favored small businesses, protected the employee rights of cannabis users and financial assistance for low-income medical cannabis patients. Most voters said they wanted to see prior cannabis convictions expunged.

Despite support from Governor Michelle Lujan Grisham, a legalization bill failed to pass the 2020 legislative session. Lujan Grisham has repeatedly said that she will push for a new bill in 2021.

The poll was conducted between Sept. 22 and 24. There is a three percent margin of error.

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