Society

Overwhelming Support for Medical Marijuana in New York State, Says Poll

| by Jared Keever

A new poll by Quinnipiac University says an overwhelming majority of New Yorkers support the legalization of medical marijuana. Furthermore, according to Slate.com, a majority of people in the state also supports the legalization of small amounts of the drug for personal use.

According to the poll, 88 percent of people support the medical use of marijuana, while a slimmer majority — 57 percent — support recreational use. The numbers are likely a bit of relief to Gov. Andrew Cuomo, who recently announced a measured plan to introduce the issue. Under Cuomo’s plan, a select few hospitals will be allowed to distribute the drug for medical purposes.

Slate reports there is an expected generation gap among respondents to the poll. Among the 18-29 age group, there is 83 percent support for recreational use. That number drops to 38 percent for those over 65.

Not everyone thinks full legalization would be a good idea. Some citizens voiced concern to New York CBS 2’s John Slattery. 

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“I don’t like that whatsoever; it’s addictive, it’s illegal, it gets in the wrong hands,” Toussaint Louis told Slattery.

Some medical experts continue to urge caution as well, saying marijuana may be more dangerous than alcohol.

“If alcohol is bad that ship has sailed, and alcohol is a bad drug but that has nothing to do with marijuana,” Dr. Harris Straytner told CBS 2. "Marijuana is a completely separate drug and is bad in its own way."

With support for legalization growing as New York’s medical initiative moves forward and other states, like Colorado, adopt relaxed laws, the voices of detractors may soon be drowned out.

“Medical marijuana is a no-brainer for New York State voters, and they also would follow Colorado in legalizing marijuana for fun," Maurice Carroll, who conducted the poll for Quinnipiac, said. "But a slim plurality don't think legalization has been good for Colorado's reputation.”

Sources: Slate, New York CBS 2