Written by: Carl Campanile – New York Post
A majority of New York voters back the legalization of the recreational use of marijuana in the state even as lawmakers continue to grapple with the issue, a new survey released Monday reveals.
The Siena College poll found that 55 percent of voters back the legalization while 40 percent were opposed, mirroring support registered in previous polls.
Support for pot legalization was consistent across all regions of the state.
Two groups of voters opposed were older New Yorkers and Republicans. Fifty four percent of voters ages 55 and older were are against the government legalizing marijuana as were 53 percent of Republicans.
Voters under 35 backed weed by a three-to-one margin and nearly two-thirds of Democrats approve.
Marijuana legalization has run into more problems with the political class because of intense opposition among certain groups, particularly law enforcement. Numerous suburban and upstate counties — Nassau and Suffolk among them– have said they won’t allow marijuana to be sold within their geographical area.
“There continues to be support for legalizing the recreational use of marijuana. It has strong support from Democrats and independents, while Republicans oppose it, albeit narrowly, 53-40 percent,” said Siena pollster Steven Greenberg.
The state Legislature, which is scheduled to adjourn its session June 19, has been unable to muster the voters to legalize weed.
But voters are resisting another controversial proposal that has languished in Albany — authorizing the state to provide driver’s licenses to illegal immigrants. Only 41 percent of voters back such a law, while 53 percent of respondents were opposed.
Opposition was particularly strong upstate, where 62 percent of voters gave thumbs down to granting licenses to undocumented residents, compared to 35 percent who support it. A majority of suburbanites were opposed and even in New York City voters were split.
Blacks, Hispanics and Democrats were three groups that back the so-called Green Light measure.
Meanwhile amid the measles epidemic, 84 percent of voters support a law requiring parents to have their kids vaccinated for diseases such as measles –regardless of the parents’ personal religious beliefs. Despite overwhelming public support, legislators in Albany have dragged their heels in eliminating the religious exemption.
Voters also strongly support adding an Equal Rights Amendment to the State Constitution — with 72 percent in favor and 17 percent opposed.
The poll of 812 voters statewide was conducted from June 2-6 and has a margin of effort of plus or minus 4.1 percentage points.