Young men are high on the idea of legalizing marijuana. tate voters favor legalization of medical marijuana by a huge margin — 88% to 9%, according to a Quinnipiac poll released Monday. Voters also favor legalizing small amounts of marijuana for recreational use by a solid margin of 57% to 39%, the same poll found.
“Medical marijuana is a no-brainer for New York state voters, and they also would follow Colorado in legalizing marijuana for fun,” said Maurice Carroll, director of the Quinnipiac University Polling Institute. While all demographic groups overwhelmingly favor allowing medical marijuana, there is a significant generation and gender gap on legalizing recreational pot. Voters 18 to 29 years old support legalization by a whopping 83% to 14%, while voters over 65 oppose it, 57% to 38%. Men are in favor of letting people possess a small quantity of the drug, 63% to 33%, while women support it by a narrower margin of 51% to 44%.
Even though pot’s not legal now, plenty of New Yorkers have lit up, the survey showed. About half of those polled reported trying pot themselves; 46% say they’ve used it; and 51% say they haven’t. Among 18- to 29-year-olds, 55% say they’ve lit up, while 69% of the over-65 set say they haven’t. Gov. Cuomo has announced plans to allow limited use of medical marijuana, with only 20 hospitals across the state allowed to prescribe it. Those facilities would be able to prescribe marijuana to people with cancer, glaucoma or other diseases on a state list, but it would be much harder to get than in states like California.
Some 41% of New York voters said they approve how Cuomo is handling marijuana policy, while 31% disapprove and 28% say they are not sure. Most voters aren’t buying the argument that pot will lead users to try harder drugs — 52% say it doesn’t lead to other drug use, while 41% say it does. Asked how marijuana stacks up against alcohol, 45% say they’re equally dangerous. Another 36% say pot is less dangerous and only 13% say it’s more dangerous.
“A narrow majority doubt that legalizing pot will lead to harder drug use. On that favorite debate topic between the pros and antis — which is worse, booze or pot — about half say they’re equal,” Carroll said. A clear majority of voters — 63% — said they’d be very uncomfortable getting in a car driven by someone who had been smoking pot, and another 19% said they’d be somewhat uncomfortable.
Support for marijuana legalization has been steadily growing in New York and around the country. A December 2012 Quinnipiac poll found that voters supported legalizing marijuana by a margin of 51% to 44%. And a Siena College survey on medical marijuana from May 2012 found 57% of New Yorkers supported it.
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