Nearly 70 percent of New Mexicans have no problem with legalizing marijuana for recreational purposes, a considerable spike in approval from more than two years ago, according to a survey touted by a pair of Democratic legislators who are trying to legalize weed in the state and make money off it.
Last week at the Roundhouse, State Sen. Gerald Ortiz y Pino, D-Albuquerque, and House Rep. Bill McCamley, D-Mesilla Park, unveiled the poll in which 69 percent of respondents were in favor of making pot legal, a significant jump from the 52 percent approval rate in a similar poll in 2013.
Albuquerque-based Research and Polling Inc. conducted the survey over a five-day span in January by strategically placing more than 400 phone calls to adults who live across the state.
McCamley says he is hoping that his House Bill 75 will pass both chambers and eventually become law, making New Mexico the fifth state in the country to make the plant legal for adult consumption. His colleague, Ortiz y Pino, hopes to put the issue before the voters in November's general election.
Legislators say between $20 million and $60 million in tax revenues would be generated annually from legalizing cannabis, which is one of the fastest-growing industries in America.
On Tuesday, another new survey showed that marijuana sales increased by 30 percent annually across the country, accounting for $5.4 billion in sales in 2015, according to New Frontier Financial's latest edition of The State of Legal Marijuana Markets.
Each year, New Mexico legislators raise the issue of legalization and taxation, arguing that it's time to find another funding source to pay for education and law enforcement in the state.