Quinnipiac Poll: New Yorkers Support Legalizing Marijuana

Image: Quinnipiac Poll: New Yorkers Support Legalizing Marijuana Participants attend Marijuana legalization rally at Union Square in New York City.

Friday, 23 May 2014 10:04 AM

By Sandy Fitzgerald

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An overwhelming majority of New Yorkers still support the use of medical marijuana and allowing adults to legally possess small amounts for personal use, and many would not mind having a medical marijuana dispensary in their town, a new Quinnipiac University Poll reveals.

"Medical marijuana in New York, and in every other state surveyed by Quinnipiac, is a no-brainer," said Maurice Carroll, assistant poll director. "The age gap on the question of recreational marijuana is not surprising: Young voters want it by large margins, while older voters say no. So it's just a matter of time, unless young voters grow more conservative with age."

In the poll of 1,129 New York voters, 83 percent support medical marijuana, while 15 percent do not. By a smaller margin of 51-44 percent, they also supported allowing recreational marijuana in small amounts, the poll showed.

Support has declined slightly from a Feb. 17 survey, which showed support for medical marijuana at 88 percent, with 9 percent opposed, and 57 percent supporting recreational marijuana with 39 percent against it. 

Voters agreed that they would not mind having a medical marijuana dispensary in their towns as well, but there was a wide gap between the political parties when it comes to approving the facilities' locations.

Sixty-two percent of respondents said they supported having a medical marijuana dispensary in their town or city, while 34 percent opposed the idea, the new poll shows. Among Democrats, 71 percent support it while 24 percent were opposed. Independents supported it 65 percent to 33 percent. Republicans, however, oppose dispensaries in their towns, 56 percent to 42 percent.

There were also age and gender gaps when it comes to dispensaries. Men support them by 67-32 percent, the poll showed, and women agree by 58-37 percent. Voters ages 18-34 voiced support by 67-33 percent, and voters over the age of 55 support dispensaries by a 58-37 percent difference.

There were wide gender and age gaps when it comes to allowing recreational marijuana. Men favored it by 57-39 percent, while women were against it by 50-45 percent. And support for allowing the drug was at 62-37 percent among voters ages 18-34, while voters over the age of 55 oppose it by 52-42 percent.

Support for recreational marijuana is also divided among political party lines. Democrats favor legalization by 62-32 percent and independent voters approve of it by 53-42 percent. Republicans polled, however, oppose it by 69-28 percent.

However, support for medical marijuana was strong for both parties. Republicans favor it by 74-23 percent, while Democrats are in favor by 87-12 percent.

Voters are slightly divided, by 35-34 percent in their approval of how Democratic Gov. Andrew Cuomo is handling the medical marijuana issue. 

But 60 percent of voters agree that alcohol is more harmful to a person's health, with 15 percent of voters deeming marijuana more harmful. Eighteen percent of the voters said both are equally harmful.

However, 53 percent said if marijuana becomes easily available, alcohol would be more harmful to society. Twenty-six percent said marijuana would be more harmful, and 14 percent said both are equally bad.

And last, voters said, by 52-43 percent, that legalizing marijuana will lead to more underaged people trying it.

The new poll has a margin of error of plus or minus 2.9 percentage points.

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