Half of New York Voters Support Medical Marijuana: Poll

Democrats, downstaters and young voters are all in favor

Tuesday, Mar 23, 2010  |  Updated 6:10 PM EDT
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A new poll reports half of New York voters support legalizing the use of marijuana for medical purposes.

The Siena Research Institute shows 50 percent back legalization, while 41 percent are opposed and 9 percent say they don't have enough information.

Pollster Steven Greenberg pointed out demographic divisions in the results, with 72 percent support among those who consider themselves liberal, 62 percent among those 18 to 34, and 55 percent among Democrats.

“Half of New York voters support legalizing the use of medical marijuana in New York, while 41 percent oppose it,” Greenberg said.

“Democrats and independents, downstaters, young, white and Jewish voters support it. Republicans, upstaters, older voters, and African American, Catholic and Protestant voters oppose it.”

Latinos were split down the middle 49 percent for and 49 percent opposed to it. Opposition includes 61 percent of those who consider themselves conservative, 59 percent of Republicans and 48 percent of those 55 and older.

"One of things that hits me about it is that there has not been a huge amount of public debate in New York state, like there has been in California and other places" Greenberg said.  "I think people are just going on a gut reaction.... people hear this word "marijuana" and they hear this word "legalization" and they got ot their roots".

The poll released Monday surveyed 810 registered voters last Monday through Thursday. It has a margin of error of 3.4 percentage points.

In January, former New Jersey Gov. Jon Corzine signed a bill that made New Jersey the 14th state in the country to legalize marijuana for medical use.

The law does not permit people to grow marijuana privately, but allows certain patients to buy up to 2 ounces per month at state-monitored dispensaries.

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