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New York voters back medical marijuana 10-1, poll finds; support for recreational pot

HAMDEN CT - New York State voters support 88 – 9 percent the legalization of medical marijuana, with overwhelming support from every group, according to a Quinnipiac University poll released today. Voters also support 57 – 39 percent the legalization of small amounts of marijuana for personal use, the independent poll finds.

There is a gender gap and a larger generation gap on the question of non-medical marijuana.  Support is 63 – 33 percent among men and 51 – 44 percent among women.  Support is 83 – 14 percent among voters 18 to 29 years old, with voters over 65 years old opposed         57 – 38 percent.  Support is 65 – 32 percent among Democrats and 58 – 37 percent among independent voters, with Republicans opposed 55 – 39 percent.

New York State voters are divided on their own use of marijuana, as 46 percent say they’ve tried it and 51 percent deny they have.  Women deny trying marijuana 58 – 39 percent, while men admit trying it 54 – 43 percent.  Voters 18 to 29 percent admit lighting up 55 – 42 percent while voters over 65 years old deny it 69 – 28 percent.

Colorado’s legalization of recreational marijuana has been good for the state’s image, 37 percent of New York State voters say, while 41 percent say it’s been bad for Colorado’s image. 

“Medical marijuana is a no-brainer for New York State voters, and they also would follow Colorado in legalizing marijuana for fun.  But a slim plurality don't think legalization has been good for Colorado's reputation,” said Maurice Carroll, director of the Quinnipiac University Polling Institute.

Use of marijuana does not lead to use of other drugs, New York State voters say 52 – 41 percent.  Men say no 57 – 36 percent, while women are divided with 46 percent saying yes and 47 percent saying no.

Marijuana is equally as dangerous as alcohol, 45 percent of voters say, while 36 percent say it’s less dangerous than alcohol and 13 percent say more dangerous.

But 63 percent of New York State voters say they would be “very uncomfortable” riding in a car driven by someone who has consumed a moderate amount of marijuana, while 19 percent would be “somewhat uncomfortable.”

“A narrow majority doubt that legalizing pot will lead to harder drug use.  On that favorite debate topic between the pros and antis – which is worse, booze or pot – about half say they're equal. About a third say alcohol is worse and only 13 percent say marijuana is worse,” Carroll said.

From February 6 – 10, Quinnipiac University surveyed 1,488 New York State voters with a margin of error of +/- 2.5 percentage points.  Live interviewers call land lines and cell phones.