New York Governor Andrew Cuomo’s recent nod towards allowing limited access to medical marijuana has voters in that state high on hopes of legalization, not just for medicinal purposes but for recreational use as well. But not so fast, New Yorkers; Cuomo has made it clear that he is currently only open to allowing its medicinal use with only a meager 20 hospitals approved to prescribe it. New York may be slow in jumping on board the legalization bandwagon, but if these new developments are any indication, it will not be long before voters have access to the plant’s medicinal magic legally.
It’s no secret that hundreds if not thousands of New Yorkers have already been enjoying the benefits of this amazing plant and not just for its medical benefits. NYC natives who have an interest know exactly where to go or who to ask to get access to marijuana. Some seek it out for its calming effects, which are invaluable after dealing with a typically hectic New York day. Who wouldn’t want something to calm the nerves after a bone jarring, congested commute on the city’s famous subway lines, not to mention the wild taxi rides and legendary traffic jams? Many find relief from a few well deserved inhalations or perhaps through other means such as that of the edible variety. Whatever the manner of indulgence, rest assured it is indeed being used.
On a more somber note, there are hundreds of New York residents suffering from serious conditions that they find are only alleviated with cannabis use. Some of these people have terminal illnesses and suffer from chronic conditions such as seizures, cancer, tuberculosis, wasting disease, and other symptoms associated with HIV. These citizens are long overdue safe, legal access to the herbal medicine that helps them feel better as they deal with their illnesses.
New Yorkers have been polled extensively about their stance on legalization. In a recently released Quinnipac poll, state voters overwhelmingly favored legalizing the herb a whopping 88% to 9%. That is a huge margin that highlights the changing attitudes towards this plant that has been demonized by the US government for decades. New York voters have put it high on their to do list and are bound to see results in their determined push for legalization. Yes, the tides are turning but it is a slow process to say the least.
Although the governor has given his blessing to start allowing patients to take advantage of the plant, there are still many bureaucratic hurdles to leap. Laws are currently being drawn up to get the proverbial ball rolling, but these laws are slated to be very strict and will only allow for a limited list of conditions. It will be much more difficult for patients to obtain the herbal medicine than it would be in say, Colorado.
Interestingly, while all the demographic groups polled overwhelmingly favor legalization for medicinal marijuana, there remains a significant gender and generational gap in legalizing recreational pot use. Voters over 65 years old oppose it 57% to 38%, while voters 18 to 29 years old support its recreational use a whopping 83% to 14%. The poll also found that men support the right to toke up for pleasure 63% to 33% with women voters supporting it by a narrower margin of 51% to 44%. The numbers speak for themselves.
All this points to the growing support for marijuana legalization not just in New York, but in states across the country. Thanks to this new wave of enlightenment and common sense regarding this wonderful mysterious plant, New Yorkers may soon join enjoy a real high not just from a doobie, but from their collective push for legalization, both medicinal and recreational alike.
By Mai Nowlin