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New York Conservatives Favor Medical Marijuana Bill, Poll Shows

Jim Finnel

Fallen Cannabis Warrior & Ex News Moderator
A Mason-Dixon poll of 500 registered Conservative Party New Yorkers shows support for legislation recently passed by the Assembly that would protect from arrest seriously ill patients who use medical marijuana with a doctor's recommendation. Patients and medical professionals responded to the results by urging the state Senate to swiftly enact the legislation, which has the support of organizations representing state nurses, medical schools and physicians.

According to the poll, conducted July 16 and 17, 55 percent of Conservative voters interviewed by phone said they support patients' right to grow and use limited amounts of marijuana if their doctors recommend it, compared with 35 percent of respondents who opposed the idea. The results dispel a common misperception that lawmakers who support medical marijuana access for seriously ill patients risk alienating conservatives.

"This poll confirms what most New Yorkers have known for a long time," said Joel Peacock, a Conservative Party member who relies on $36,000-a-year's worth of prescription drugs to alleviate chronic pain from a 2001 car accident. "Support for this issue cuts across party lines. Addressing the needs of the suffering isn't a liberal or conservative issue; it's a matter of simple human compassion."

Previous polls have also shown strong, nonpartisan support for allowing medical marijuana: A June 2005 Siena Research Institute found that 76 percent of New York voters support allowing medical marijuana, including 72 percent of Republicans and 80 percent of Democrats. With 12 states already adopting successful medical marijuana laws that enjoy strong public support, medical marijuana legislation's popularity among New Yorkers of all political stripes is no surprise, said Dr. Kevin Smith, a psychiatrist who has been recognized by the state legislature for his work with police forensics.

"The Senate should promptly pass the Assembly’s medical marijuana bill," he said. Smith suffers from a painful genetic defect that causes his immune system to attack his spine and hips as though they were foreign bodies; the debilitating pain forced him to quit practicing medicine. During a trip overseas, he legally experienced relief through the use of medical marijuana, but refuses to break New York law to use it. "Medical marijuana can give me my life back, but right now I am barred by law from using it. This is crazy."

Commissioned by New Yorkers for Compassionate Care, the poll has a plus-or-minus 4.5 percent margin of error. The entire poll results can be viewed online at Marijuana Policy Project - New York Poll Results. The June 2005 Siena Research Institute poll had a sample size of 622 registered voters. Its full results are available at Siena Research Institute.

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Source: Marijuana Policy Project
Contact: Marijuana Policy Project - Contact Us
Copyright: 2007 Marijuana Policy Project
Website: Marijuana Policy Project - Press Releases
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