NEW YORK: In a poll released this morning, Quinnipiac University found that 88% of New Yorkers – including a strong majority across all political groups and demographics – support allowing the use of medical marijuana if a doctor recommends it. Polls have consistently found strong support for medical marijuna in New York, but this is the highest favorable poll to date and has a margin of error of only+/- 2.5 percentage point.
The New York legislature is currently considering the Compassionate Care Act, a bill that would alleviate the suffering of seriously ill New Yorkers by allowing them access to a small amount of medical marijuana under the supervision of their healthcare provider. The bill has passed the Assembly four times, and Governor Cuomo’s administration has said the governor would sign the bill into law, but the Senate has refused to even bring the bill up for a hearing or a vote. Across the country, twenty states – including all of New England – and the District of Columbia have passed medical marijuana laws.
In addition to supporting marijuana for medical use, 57% of the those polled favor allowing adults to legally possess marijuana for personal use. New York leads the nation in marijuana possession arrests, which are marked by huge racial disparities. The vast majority of those arrested in New York (over 80%) for marijuana possession are Black and Latino, mostly young men; yet young white men use marijuana at higher rates.
Two states – Colorado and Washington – have created systems to tax and regulated marijuana for adult personal use, and several states, including New York, have introduced bills to tax and regulate marijuana in a manner similar to alcohol.
Statement from gabriel sayegh, New York State director of the Drug Policy Alliance:
“There is no disputing the fact that New York voters overwhelmingly support compassionate care. And they’re not alone. The list of compassionate care supporters is long and growing, and includes the New York State Assembly and Governor Cuomo, doctors, nurses, treatment providers, Democrats, Republicans, faith leaders, dozens of organizations throughout our state, and more. The only thing holding up medical marijuana in New York now is the State Senate. The Senate is putting tired drug war politics ahead of patients in need, leaving patients to suffer and forcing families to move from New York to one of the twenty states that have a medical marijuana system – like New Jersey, Arizona, or Colorado. New Yorkers shouldn’t have to leave the state to find relief from serious conditions like cancer, MS, or Dravet’s syndrome. It’s long past time for the Senate to pass the Compassionate Care Act so that New York patients and families get the relief they need and deserve.”