Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Poll: Montanans oppose repeal of Medical Marijuana Act

Posted By on Tue, Feb 22, 2011 at 11:05 AM

Poll results released today by Patients and Families United suggest that about three out of four Montanans support either more strict regulation of the state's Medical Marijuana Program or no change to it at all, while only 20 percent support the outright repeal of the program.

The findings appear to conflict with the mood in Montana's Capitol. The Senate will soon take up a bill that would repeal the Montana Medical Marijuana Act. The House passed the measure on Monday by a vote of 62-37. This despite the fact that 62 percent of Montana voters approved the law in 2004.

Public Policy Polling conducted the poll on behalf of Patients and Families United, a group that lobbies the Montana Legislature for marijuana patients' rights. Find the group's press release below, and the full poll results here (PDF).

A statewide poll conducted last weekend found that a sizeable majority of adult Montanans — 63% — still supports allowing medical marijuana, and most would support strict new regulations. But, in stark contrast, very few — only 20% — supports current proposals to repeal the state’s compassionate medical marijuana law, it was announced today.

As a general principle, not specific to medical marijuana, only 24% of Montanans believes any initiative adopted by a strong majority of voters should be repealed by the Legislature.

The telephone poll of 2,212 Montanans was conducted last Saturday and Sunday by Public Policy Polling of Raleigh, North Carolina, for Patients & Families United (PFU), a Montana public education support group for medical cannabis and pain patients. The poll’s margin of error is plus or minus 2.1%.

“Slightly more than the 62% of voters who adopted this compassionate policy in 2004 still support protecting medical marijuana patients,” reported Tom Daubert, PFU founder/director, “and only 20% of adult Montanans believe the Legislature should repeal the law. Meanwhile, 60% believe the Legislature should instead pass new regulations that are strict and that allow for local controls as well,” he said.

Daubert noted that the poll also found that “a total of 76% of Montanans believe either that the law should be left alone, unchanged, or that new regulations should be added.”

He 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 “side-boards” 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,” he said. “This voter-adopted policy is benefiting a great many people, and it deserves to be fixed in ways that will address everyone’s concerns. We are gratified to know that Montanans agree.”

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