Despite New York being one of the most liberal states in the country, they've actually been behind the times when it comes to marijuana laws. But it turns out if New Yorkers themselves had the choice, that wouldn't be the case at all.
A new poll shows that 62 percent of New York state residents support legalizing marijuana for recreational use, while only 28 percent voted against it. But this poll was different because it also asked New Yorkers about how they felt about legalizing and taxing cannabis as a solutions for the state's budget deficit compared to other solutions. 60 percent of New Yorkers said they supported using marijuana taxes to cover the state's budget deficit, while 28 percent opposed it. All the other solutions presented in the poll to fix the deficit, such as raising taxes, increasing tolls and cutting services, received between 15 and 27 percent support at most. So that makes marijuana legalization the preferred way to fix the state's budget deficit by more than 30 percent.
The poll's inclusion of comparing marijuana legalization with other forms of raising revenue is interesting. While we know that the majority of Americans support allowing recreational cannabis, these numbers show how much more popular it is compared to other possible budget solutions. It actually makes it seem like politicians, at least those in New York, would be completely idiotic not to support marijuana legalization. Why would a Democrat flout his tax raising agenda or a Republican talk about cutting education when they could simply support cannabis taxation and earn far more support from the general population?
The poll will probably not change much in the state. Current New York governor Andrew Cuomo has opposed legalizing marijuana recreationally and has implemented one of the strictest medical programs in the country. He's also announced that he's running for a third-term next November, and will probably win, meaning New Yorkers may have to wait until 2022 to get a pro-marijuana governor in place.
But if more polls like this come out, Cuomo might have to starting changing his tune.
(h/t Drug Policy Alliance)