At long last: New York politicians want to legalize weed. A recent poll found that the majority of New York State residents want recreational marijuana. Now, Cynthia Nixon’s pro-marijuana bid for governor is pushing most conservative Democrats to support legalization. This week, all of New York State’s Democrats are assembling at the Democratic Convention, and they’re expected to make a big announcement.
New Yorkers Want To Legalize Weed
And not just in the liberal bastion of New York City. A poll conducted by Siena College found that a majority of New York State voters registered with the Democratic party also want to legalize marijuana.
Researchers polled 823 people between February 5th and 8th of this year. They used both the cell phone and landline numbers of registered voters and took population and demographics into account when deciding where to place their calls.
Steven Greenberg who worked on the poll reported, “by a 56-40 percent margin, New Yorkers support legalizing the recreational use of marijuana.” Note that these figures take only registered Democrats and Independents into account.
Of course, younger people were more likely to support legalization. They found that 75 percent of people surveyed under 35 want to legalize recreational marijuana. For those over 55 years old, voters were evenly split.
Lawmakers Are Also Divided On Legalization
Some state officials want to develop a system for New York to tax and regulate marijuana, like other states. Assemblywoman Crystal Peoples-Stokes stated, “I’m not the person who thinks people should use marijuana, but I know that they do, and because they do, they’re going to go to where it is legal. Quite frankly, those are dollars that are walking out the door.”
For reference, Nevada, which has fewer than 3 million permanent residents made over $7 million in taxes from legalized marijuana in March alone. New York State has almost 20 million residents. Add to that, over 61 million tourists who visit New York City per year (according to NYC and Company).
Governor Cuomo’s Approval Is Down
Incumbent Andrew Cuomo is running for governor against the pro-weed candidate and Sex and the City star Cynthia Nixon. Cuomo received the Democratic nomination by a landslide, despite his approval ratings dropping with all demographics besides the party’s elites.
The same poll found that Cuomo’s approval rating went down ten percent between January and February of this year. An additional 30 to 40 percent reported that they disapprove of the governor.
He’s down with Democrats, more with Republicans, and even more with independents,” explained Greenberg.
Could Supporting Legalization Affect Cuomo’s Ratings?
There are many reasons why the Democratic engine’s favorite candidate wouldn’t be so popular with progressives or conservatives. But for one, Cuomo described marijuana as a “gateway drug” as recently as last year. NYC Mayor De Blasio is restructuring the NYPD after finding that the police disproportionately target people of color in marijuana possession arrests. By comparison, Cuomo’s attitude towards the herb appears outdated.
New York Democratic Convention attendees agree. According to the New York Post, the convention will be announcing its support for legalization. But we can’t say yet whether this announcement will lead to a vote on the matter anytime soon.