New Yorkers Really, Really Want Medical Marijuana to Be Legal

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Your News Companion by Ben Mathis-Lilley
Feb. 17 2014 6:05 PM

New Yorkers Really, Really Want Medical Marijuana to Be Legal

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Forty-six percent of New York state voters say they've tried marijuana while 51 percent deny they ever have, according to the latest poll

Photo by Theo Stroomer/Getty Images

Gov. Andrew Cuomo wants a select number of hospitals across New York to distribute medical marijuana in a cautious plan set to introduce the issue. But by all accounts the man who not too long ago opposed medical marijuana is not proposing anything that New Yorkers don’t overwhelmingly support anyway. A whopping 88 percent of New York voters back the legalization of medical marijuana, according to a Quinnipiac University poll released Monday. New York voters also support the legalization of small amounts of marijuana for personal use 57 percent to 39 percent. Yes, a much narrower margin but still a significant majority.

There is, as might be expected, a wide generation gap on the question of recreational marijuana. Among voters 18-to-29, support for non-medical marijuana is at 83 percent, a number that declines to 38 percent for those over 65. Democrats are also more likely to approve of small quantities of non-medical marijuana for personal use than Republicans, and men are more likely to support it than women. "Medical marijuana is a no-brainer for New York State voters, and they also would follow Colorado in legalizing marijuana for fun. But a slim plurality don't think legalization has been good for Colorado's reputation," said Maurice Carroll, director of the Quinnipiac University Polling Institute.

Daniel Politi has been contributing to Slate since 2004 and wrote the "Today's Papers" column from 2006 to 2009. You can follow him on Twitter @dpoliti.

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