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Majority of New York Voters Want Marijuana Legalization

New York Sate Capitol, Albany

The voters of New York State want to see marijuana legalized. A new Quinnipiac poll of the state found that 51 percent of New York registered voters think the use of marijuana should be made legal in their state. On the other hand, only 44 percent of voters in the state think marijuana should remain illegal.

As with all polling about marijuana, there is a large partisan and generational divide. Democrats and Independents strongly support legalizing marijuana in their state, while Republicans oppose the move by nearly a two-to-one margin. The poll also found that senior citizens are the only age group that opposes legalization. A significant majority of all voters under 65 think pot should be legalized. This means the long term support for legalization is almost guaranteed to grow

Opinions about marijuana reform in New York State near perfectly match opinions nationally. In their national poll earlier this month, Quinnipiac found that across the entire country 51 percent of American voters think marijuana should be legal and 44 think it should be illegal.

Unfortunately, since New York State law doesn’t allow for citizen’s initiatives, the only way marijuana will be legalized is if the state legislature decides to change the law. All indications are that it will be awhile before the legislature listens to their constituents on this issue.

The state legislature still hasn’t approved a medical marijuana law or reduced the penalties for possession in “plain sight.” Both changes should be political no-brainers at this point, given that the electorate wants go significantly further on the issue of marijuana policy reform. Hopefully, this new poll will at least encourage the legislature to take those smaller steps in the coming year.

Photo by wallyg under Creative Commons license.

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Jon Walker

Jon Walker

Jonathan Walker grew up in New Jersey. He graduated from Wesleyan University in 2006. He is an expert on politics, health care and drug policy. He is also the author of After Legalization and Cobalt Slave, and a Futurist writer at