An overwhelming percentage of New York voters think the state should allow medical marijuana, according to a new poll from Siena College. A full 61 percent of voters believe the state government should legalize medical marijuana, while only a third of voters oppose the reform.
Looking at the cross tabs there is a very large partisan divide on the issue of medical marijuana. Democrats support it 67 percent to 28 percent. Independents are even more supportive than Democrats, with 69 percent of New York Independents supporting medical marijuana and just 27 percent opposed. On the other hand, a small plurality (45 percent) of Republicans oppose the idea, while only 43 percent support it.
The poll did find that there is majority support for medical marijuana among all age groups, regions, races and income levels.
Recently, Governor Andrew Cuomo came out in support of decriminalizing minor marijuana possession that is in “public view.” Minor marijuana possession is already decriminalized in New York if it is not in public view, but this technical distinction has allowed tens of thousands of mostly low income minority males being unfairly arrested for marijuana possession discovered during stop and frisk searches.
One hopes the new found willingness of top political leaders in the state to look into marijuana reform in general will eventually lead the government to follow the clear will of the electorate on the issue of medical marijuana.