A majority of voters in New York are in favor of legalizing recreational marijuana, according to a new poll.
Emerson College’s survey shows that 62% of voters support legal cannabis use for anyone 21 and older, while only 28% oppose it, the Daily News reported.
However, in a statewide election earlier this month, New York voters overwhelmingly defeated a proposed constitutional convention that could have paved the way for a 2019 ballot measure on legalizing adult use.
The Emerson College poll also showed that the revenue from taxing cannabis sales is “the most popular way to erase New York’s looming budget deficit,” the Daily News reported. State officials are expecting a $4.4 billion shortfall for the 2018-19 fiscal year.
According to the newspaper, the New York chapter of the Marijuana Policy Project – which commissioned the poll in conjunction with the Drug Policy Alliance – recently estimated a recreational cannabis program would:
- Bring in $183 million in state and local sales taxes in Year One.
- Generate $555 million in tax revenue annually by 2025.
- Create upwards of 40,000 jobs.
New York launched a medical marijuana program in January 2016 that’s tiny in relation to the population and is getting help from the state to make it a more viable industry.
The state’s marijuana businesses also face the prospect of competition from neighboring New Jersey once governor-elect Phil Murphy takes office in January.