An overwhelming majority of New Yorkers support legalizing medical marijuana across the state, a new poll shows, while a slimmer majority also support legalizing small amounts of weed for recreational use.
According to the latest Quinnipiac poll, released Monday, 88 percent of New York State voters support legalizing medical marijuana, while 57 percent support outright legalization of the drug in small amounts.
"Medical marijuana is a no-brainer for New York State voters, and they also would follow Colorado in legalizing marijuana for fun," Maurice Carroll, director of the Quinnipiac University Polling Institute, said in a statement. "But a slim plurality don't think legalization has been good for Colorado's reputation."
Forty-one percent of New Yorkers think Colorado's legalization of marijuana has been bad for the state's image, while 37 percent say it's been good.
The poll also finds that a majority of New Yorkers don't buy the argument that marijuana is a gateway drug. Fifty-two percent say marijuana use doesn't lead to harder drugs, while 41 percent say it does.
And New Yorkers also don't think that marijuana is any worse than alcohol. Forty-five percent say weed is equally as bad as booze, while 36 percent say pot is actually less dangerous. Thirteen percent of those polled said weed's more dangerous.
The new poll is welcome news to medical marijuana advocates in New York, many of whom were disappointed by the limited medical marijuana pilot program Governor Cuomo unveiled last month. Under Cuomo's plan, medical pot would be available at 20 hospitals for patients suffering from a specific set of illnesses.
Earlier this year, Cuomo said legalizing marijuana across the state the way Colorado and Washington have is a "nonstarter." A bill introduced by state Sen. Liz Krueger to end prohibition of the drug likely won't pass.
Meanwhile, Brooklyn's new district attorney, Ken Thompson, has reaffirmed his commitment to not prosecute low-level marijuana arrests, effectively decriminalizing the drug in the borough.