Despite broad public support, medical marijuana legislation failed to pass either chamber of the New York legislature this year. For a dozen years, proponents have pushed medical marijuana bills, and twice the Assembly has approved them, only to see them die in the Senate.
That was understandable when the Senate was controlled by Republicans, but is less so now. Among Democrats, 66% support medical marijuana, and so do 68% of unaffiliated voters, while a mere plurality of Republicans (48%) oppose it. When broken down on ideological, as opposed to partisan, lines, 79% of liberals support medical marijuana, as do 63% of moderates. A majority of conservatives (51%), on the other hand, oppose legalizing medical marijuana, but only a slight majority.
Somewhat surprisingly, upstate residents had higher levels of support (67%) than people who live downstate (62%). Men were more likely to support it (67%) than women (61%), and whites were more likely to support it (66%) than non-whites (60%).
Medical marijuana won majority support across every age group, and was 65% or higher for every age group except those over 65, where support declined to 52%. It also won majority support across every income bracket, increasing steadily from 53% among those making less than $30,000 a year to 73% among those making more than $100,000 a year.
Fourteen states and the District of Columbia have approved medical marijuana. Maybe one of these years, legislators in New York will get around to enacting the will of Empire State voters.
Here is yet another poll showing broad support for medical marijuana, this time in New York state. The surprise is no longer that people support medical marijuana, but that the New York legislature can’t get around to passing it.