Journal Poll: Pot legalization has widespread, growing support - Albuquerque Journal

Journal Poll: Pot legalization has widespread, growing support

FOR THE RECORD: This story  incorrectly described an earlier survey as being a Journal Poll as well. Research & Polling conducted both polls, but the January survey was commissioned by the Drug Policy Alliance and a coalition of groups including licensed marijuana producers. The poll conducted this month was commissioned by the Journal. Both polls had 61 percent of respondents supporting legalization of marijuana.

Copyright © 2016 Albuquerque Journal

A majority of New Mexico voters – especially young ones – favor following Colorado’s lead in making marijuana legal for recreational use by adults, according to the latest Journal Poll.

Sixty-one percent of likely voters said they would support a proposal to legalize, tax and regulate marijuana for adults 21 and older, while 34 percent said they would oppose it. The remainder said they had mixed feelings or did not know.

Colorado made the sale of marijuana for recreational use legal Jan. 1, 2014. While that decision is still being debated, the change has generated a huge amount of money for the state, more than $587 million in 2015 alone. Coupled with roughly $408 million in sales for medical cannabis that year, the combined sales generated more than $135 million for the state in taxes and fees. That prospect could appeal to New Mexico legislators grappling with the state’s cash-strapped budget.

The Journal survey also reveals a strong generational difference. More than four in five – 82 percent – of voters ages 18 to 34 said they would support a proposal to legalize pot for recreational use, while just 45 percent of those 65 and older expressed support.

a00_jd_09oct_Poll_Marijuana“The new generation that is getting onto the voter rolls are more likely to support, so it’s only logical that support levels have been rising,” said Journal pollster Brian Sanderoff, president of Research & Polling Inc.

The results suggest that voters today would support a ballot initiative to legalize pot for recreational use, Sanderoff said.

“I think if the election were held today, it would pass,” he said.

Roundhouse roadblock

Getting legislative support for a measure that would put the question to voters is a goal that has long eluded supporters.

Lawmakers this year considered a proposal that would have asked voters to approve or reject a constitutional change to legalize, regulate and tax marijuana production and sales. The measure failed in the 2016 regular session. Similar proposals also failed in 2014 and 2015.

New Mexico’s medical cannabis program has expanded significantly since its introduction in 2007. The number of people enrolled in the program has grown to 30,877 as of Sept. 30, up from roughly 14,000 the previous year. Most have been diagnosed with either post-traumatic stress disorder or severe chronic pain, which are among the nearly two dozen qualifying conditions for which medical marijuana is approved.

Marijuana use for any purpose remains illegal under federal law.

a00_jd_09oct_Poll_Marijuana_demographicsIn addition to age, party affiliation was a key predictor of public opinion about legalizing pot. Seventy percent of Democrats, but just 40 percent of Republicans, said they would support the measure. Independents topped both, with 81 percent support for legalization.

Changing attitudes

The results are virtually identical to those of a Journal survey in January in which 61 percent of respondents supported legalization and 34 percent opposed.

But this year’s polling indicates that public attitudes about marijuana have changed since 2014.

A Journal survey that year found that only 44 percent of likely voters favored a constitutional change to legalize, regulate and tax marijuana. Fifty percent said they opposed legalization.

“It demonstrates that public opinion (about marijuana) is shifting quickly, similar to other social issues” such as same-sex marriage, Sanderoff said.

Poll sampling

The Journal Poll is based on a scientific, statewide sample of 501 voters who said they planned to vote this year and either cast ballots in the 2012 or 2014 general elections or just registered to vote.

The poll was conducted Sept. 27-29. The full voter sample has a margin of error of plus or minus 4.4 percentage points. The margin of error grows for subsamples.

All interviews were conducted by live, professional interviewers, with multiple callbacks to households that did not initially answer the phone.

Both cellphone numbers (52 percent) and landlines (48 percent) of proven general election voters were used.


Home » Journal North » Journal North Recent News » Journal Poll: Pot legalization has widespread, growing support

Insert Question Legislature form in Legis only stories

Albuquerque Journal and its reporters are committed to telling the stories of our community.

• Do you have a question you want someone to try to answer for you? Do you have a bright spot you want to share?
   We want to hear from you. Please email

taboola desktop

ABQjournal can get you answers in all pages


Questions about the Legislature?
Albuquerque Journal can get you answers
Email addresses are used solely for verification and to speed the verification process for repeat questioners.
Valentine's Day in Albuquerque: Lovers, friends and lonely hearts ...
ABQnews Seeker
There are plenty of fun options ... There are plenty of fun options for everyone to celebrate on or around the occasion
Ready for Rihanna? A look at five songs that ...
ABQnews Seeker
Journal Staff WriterI am not sure ... Journal Staff WriterI am not sure if you have heard, but there is a football game this ...
Tucumcari mother and son charged in fatal dog attack
ABQnews Seeker
A mother and son are charged ... A mother and son are charged with involuntary manslaughter after the family’s dogs killed a man last week while running loose on the streets ...
PRC commissioners confirmed by Senate after pointed questions about ...
ABQnews Seeker
New Mexico's three recently-appointed Public Regulation ... New Mexico's three recently-appointed Public Regulation Commission members won confirmation Wednesday by the state Senate, after facing questions about their business interests, past industry ...
Texas man pleads guilty in racist 2019 Walmart attack
ABQnews Seeker
EL PASO, Texas (AP) -- A ... EL PASO, Texas (AP) -- A Texas man pleaded guilty Wednesday to federal hate crime and weapons charges in the racist attack at an ...
Forest Service conducts prescribed burns in New Mexico
ABQnews Seeker
"We're doing everything we can to ... "We're doing everything we can to be prepared and prevent an unintended outcome," said Cibola National Forest Fire Fuels and Aviation Staff Officer Matt ...
7 activities around the state to love this Valentine's ...
ABQnews Seeker
This weekend leads into Valentine's Day, ... This weekend leads into Valentine's Day, a holiday commonly associated with amor. Here are some activities to help you spend time with those you ...
Person fatally shot outside truck stop in Northwest Albuquerque
ABQnews Seeker
A person was shot and killed ... A person was shot and killed at a truck stop Wednesday afternoon in Northwest Albuquerque. Gilbert Gallegos, an Albuquerque police spokesman, said police responded ...
Senate decisively approves bill funding NM wildfire recovery efforts. ...
ABQnews Seeker
While New Mexico waits for federal ... While New Mexico waits for federal disaster relief funds to arrive, a bill that would allow public repair work in the burn scar of ...