|Graphic: The Weed Blog|
The Montana Legislature is on the verge of re-criminalizing thousands of medical marijuana patients in one fell swoop, but the citizens of the state do not support such a move.
A statewide poll released on Tuesday indicates that a big majority of adult Montanans — 76 percent — oppose repeal of the state’s medical marijuana law. Sixty-three percent still support allowing medical marijuana with strict new regulations, while others believe no changes are needed to the law. In stark contrast, very few — only about 20 percent — support repeal of the state’s compassionate Medical Marijuana Program.
The results are particularly striking because they fly in the face of Republican claims that voters somehow “regret” legalizing medical cannabis, or that they were somehow “misled” in doing so.
The findings, released by advocacy group Patients & Families United, appear to conflict with the prevailing mood in Montana’s Republican-controlled capitol, reports Matthew Frank at the Missoula Independent.
The Senate will soon take up a bill — already passed by the House — that would repeal the Montana Medical Marijuana Act. The House passed the measure by a 63-37 vote on Monday, despite the fact that 62 percent of Montanans approved the medical marijuana law in 2004.
As a general principle — not specific to medical marijuana — only 24 percent of Montanans believe any initiative adopted by a strong majority of voters should be repealed by the Legislature.
Tom Daubert, PFU founder/director, noted that the pool found that “a total of 76 percent of Montanans believe either that the law should be left alone, unchanged, or that new regulations should be added.”
Daubert emphasized that the poll findings show Montanans as a whole agree with Patients & Families United, which has supported law enforcement, local government groups and others who believe the law should be “fixed” with rigorous regulatory “sideboards” that require accountability and oversight of those who produce and dispense medical cannabis to patients.
“Repealing this law would be the only step worse than doing nothing to fix it,” Daubert said. “It’s neither moral nor practical to suddenly redefine thousands of suffering patients as criminals. Taxpayers can’t afford that, and patients who are leading more comfortable, productive lives using cannabis rather than narcotics can’t be expected to happily go backwards.”
“This voter-adopted policy is benefiting a great many people, and it deserves to be fixed in ways that will address everyone’s concerns,” Daubert said. “We are gratified to know that Montanans agree.”
Public Policy Polling of Raleigh, North Carolina, conducted the poll of 2,212 Montanans last Saturday and Sunday. The poll’s margin of error was plus or minus 2.1 percent.
For full poll results, click here [PDF].