Poll: Need For Revenue Could Push Adult Use of Pot in NYS

Economic Argument Advanced as NYS Faces $.4.4 Billion Deficit

Dave Debo
November 30, 2017 - 6:18 am

AP photo


(WBEN) Supporters of adult marijuana use in New York State say it could come up in the coming year in Albany, and they are pointing to a new poll that says New Yorkers are in favor of using the cash crop to stave off a possible budget deficit as high as $.4.4 billion.

An Emerson College  poll -  commissioned by the Marijuana Policy Project- says that that 62 percent of registered voters in New York support making marijuana use legal for people over 21, and  when asked whether tolls or taxes or cuts are better 60 percent of those in the survey said it is the most popular way to erase a severe budget deficit in 2018 .

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A bill pending in the New York State Assembly, and its companion version in the state senate is sponsored by Assemblywoman Crystal Peoples-Stokes, a Buffalo Democrat closely allied with Gov. Cuomo. The bill has been languishing in the Codes committee this past year, but supporters say the poll, and a looming budget deficit could break it free from legislative logjam.

"We think the stars might be in the right line to allow this to happen next year," says  Joel Giambra, the former Erie County Executive who helped lobby the state legislature for approval of medical marijuana, and who is helping mount a push for "adult use" based on economic issues.

" There are many many adults, baby boomers in particular  that have been using marijuana for a very long time, buying it on the black market. and .. and allowing the black market economy to exist is foolish," Giambra says.  

The bill as proposed would change criminal penalties for marijuana possession but also " amend the alcoholic beverage control law, in relation to providing for the licensure of persons authorized to produce, process and sell marihuana; to amend the state finance law, in relation to establishing the New York state marihuana revenue fund, the New York state drug treatment education fund and the New York state community grants reinvestment fund; to amend the tax law, in relation to providing for the levying of an excise tax on certain sales of marihuana."   READ THE BILL HERE 

During last year's state of the state message at the start of the year , and approximately a month later his proposed budget, Governor Cuomo pressed for a decriminalization of small amounts of marijuanna possession.  This year's budget message is due in January and comes as the state faces a 2018-19 deficit that is estimated near $ 4 billion 

Read the poll report, methodology , etc HERE

From Emerson College:

  • Overall 62% of registered voters support the legalization of marijuana in New York and 28% oppose legalization which is outside the polls 3.9 percentage point margin of error and significant.
  • All political affiliations supported legalization of Marijuana
          - Independents were most in support, 71% to 18%
          - Democrats, 63% to 28%
          - Republicans, 53% to 37%
  •  There was a negative correlation between Age cohort and support for Marijuana with younger voters more in support than older voters
          -18-34, 74% to 20%
          -35-54, 65% to 22%
          -55-74, 56% to 35%
          -75+, 37% to 54%
  •  There was no significant difference in support or opposition based on gender identity or Ethnicity
  •  Legalization and taxing of Marijuana was the only policy that was supported when asked if other options should be used to cut the budget deficit.

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