A new study from Rochester Institute of Technology suggests that Democrat supporters are far more accepting of marijuana liberalization than Republicans.
The survey found that 85% of Democrats in New York State do not believe that cannabis legalization would not raise crime rates. The number fell to 50% for Republicans and 75% for independents.
It also found that 68% of Republican supporters in New York State believe cannabis legalization will hurt schools, compared to 34% of Democrats and 46% of independents.
The survey came from a small base of just 384 respondents, but it shines an interesting light on the complex situation in the state. “We kind of live in two worlds,” said senior research fellow Gregory Drake. “We’re very siloed when it comes to our thoughts on things, and those two silos we live in are controlled by what we affiliate with politically.”
A drive to include adult-use cannabis legalization in the New York Legislature’s 2019 state budget failed last month. There was a dispute over taxes and the framework that an industry would take, but conservative lawmakers also played a role in killing it off.
Sponsors of the legislation are now working on introducing a new bill that they hope stands a better chance of passing into law.
The new bill would create a government unit that would regulate all products derived from cannabis and hemp, while revenue would be allocated towards “communities adversely affected by marijuana prohibition”. Further money would go to the police to help enforce safe driving laws.
Gov. Andrew Cuomo supports it, but he has no desire to convince opponents to change their minds.
The Senate Health and Human Services Committee and the Assembly Appropriations Committee approved A10, which would make it much easier for patients in the state to qualify for and obtain cannabis. It would permit doctors to prescribe a year’s supply rather than the current 90-day limit, and increase the amount a patient could obtain from a dispensary to 3 ounces (85g). It would also broaden the pool of health practitioners authorized to prescribe marijuana.
It is now believed that New Jersey’s medical marijuana program could be expanded as early as next week.
Bills to decriminalize possession of small amounts of cannabis and expunge old criminal convictions relating to marijuana also passed key committees in New Jersey this week.