New Yorkers Ready to Puff, Puff, Pass Medical Marijuana Legalization
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Good news! Pollsters finally found the one thing almost all New Yorkers -- men and women, Democrats and Independents, the young and middle aged -- can agree on: our support for medical marijuana.
On Monday, Quinnipiac University released a new poll showing 88 percent of New Yorkers support legalization of medical pot, and just 9 percent oppose. We are overwhelmingly in favor of legalizing small amounts of weed for personal use too: 57 to 39 percent. Men, on the whole, are more supportive than women (63 percent and 51 in favor, respectively). Sixty five percent of Democrats support legalization, and 58 percent of Independents do too.
There were some buzzkills chiming in, and they are exactly who you would suspect: old people and Republicans. Fifty seven percent of voters over age 65, and 55 percent of Republicans oppose legalization.
The larger share of New Yorkers though, 45 percent, agree with President Obama that pot is not more dangerous than alcohol. Thirty six percent say its less dangerous. (Thirteen percent think it's more dangerous.)
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What does all this mean? It means it's probably time to unearth that report commissioned by former Comptroller John Liu back in August: "Regulating and Taxing Marijuana: the Fiscal Impact on New York."
Liu's office estimated that allowing medical marijuana and legalizing personal possession of up to one ounce of marijuana could raise $431 million dollars total for New York City -- $400 million in excise and sales taxes and an additional $31 million saved in law enforcement and court costs.
Mayor Bill de Blasio has voiced his support for decriminalizing possession, but not legalizing it. In 2013, the Comptroller's office estimated there were 37,000 low-level marijuana arrests in New York City; those arrests disproportionately affected black and latino New Yorkers, whom the Comptroller's office said "represent less than half of marijuana users but 86% of marijuana arrests."
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