Poll: Montanans Oppose Lawmakers’ Effort To Repeal Medical Marijuana Law

Helena, MT: A majority of Montana citizens oppose efforts by House lawmakers to repeal the state’s six-year-old medical marijuana law, according to a statewide poll published on Tuesday.

According to a Public Policy Polling survey of 2,212 Montanans, 63 percent of respondents “support allowing patients … to have the freedom to use marijuana for medical purposes with their doctors’ approval.” Only 20 percent of respondents said that the law should be “repealed entirely.” Of the respondents, 36 percent identified themselves as ‘independent’ voters; 35 percent said that they were Republicans, and 29 percent said they were Democrats.

In 2004, 62 percent of state voters approved a ballot initiative exempting state-qualified patients from criminal arrest for their use of marijuana as a medicine.

On Monday, House lawmakers gave final approval to legislation, HB 161, which would repeal the state’s marijuana law. Virtually all House Republicans voted in favor of the measure while House Democrats largely voted against it.

Opponents of the law have claimed that it is associated with rising rates of teen drug use and traffic fatalities. However, state statistics do not support either claim.

House Bill 161 now goes to the Senate. If approved by Senate lawmakers, the repeal measure will go to the desk of Gov. Brian Schweitzer, a Democrat, who has previously voiced support for the state law.

Montana is one of fifteen states recognizing the physician-supervised use of cannabis. To date, no legislature has repealed such a law.

For more information, please visit: http://montananorml.org or visit NORML’s ‘Take Action Center’ here: http://www.capwiz.com/norml2/issues/alert/?alertid=21950501.