Majority of New York Voters Oppose Prioritizing Licenses for Cannabis Offenders

A new poll found that the majority of New York voters oppose prioritizing the state’s adult-use cannabis licenses for people previously convicted of a cannabis-related crime.

Full story after the jump.

A majority of New York voters – 54% – oppose giving the first batch of the state’s adult-use cannabis licenses to social equity applicants, according to a Siena University poll published on Monday, which found a just a third of voters approved the plan.

According to the poll, the proposal is opposed by 72% of Republicans, with 19% in favor. Less than half of Democrats (45%) support the plan with 43% opposed. More than half (55%) of all independent voters also oppose giving social-equity applicants the state’s first adult-use licenses.

Less than half of Black voters (48%) support the proposal, with 37% in favor, while a slim majority (52%) of Latino voters are in favor, with 30% opposed, the poll found.

“Giving first dibs on marijuana licenses to those previously convicted divides Democrats and New York City voters,” Siena College pollster Steven Greenberg said in a statement. “Strong majorities of Republicans, independents, voters outside New York City, and white voters give it a thumbs down. Latino voters support it by 12 points and Black voters by 11 points.”

Under the program, called the Seeding Opportunity Initiative, the first adult-use retail licenses in the state will be made available to individuals with prior cannabis-related offenses that also have a background in owning and operating a small business.

Gov. Kathy Hochul (D) has said that giving the first licenses to the social equity cohort “takes a major step forward in righting the wrongs of the past.”

Hochul has also included a $200 million social equity investment program in her 2023 Executive Budget.

This Siena College Poll was conducted March 20-24, 2022 among 804 New York State registered voters.

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