Most New Yorkers support Cuomo medical marijuana pilot plan: poll

NEW YORK Mon Jan 20, 2014 5:32am EST

New York State Governor Andrew Cuomo delivers his fourth State of the State address from the New York State Capitol in Albany, New York, January 8, 2014. REUTERS/Mike Segar

New York State Governor Andrew Cuomo delivers his fourth State of the State address from the New York State Capitol in Albany, New York, January 8, 2014.

Credit: Reuters/Mike Segar

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NEW YORK (Reuters) - Most New Yorkers support Governor Andrew Cuomo's plan to allow the use of medical marijuana in a pilot program in up to 20 hospitals, according to a poll released on Monday.

Nearly half (49 percent) of the New York voters polled thought he should skip the pilot step entirely and legalize its medical use statewide, as has already happened in about 20 other states, the Siena College Poll said.

A total of 28 percent of New Yorkers said the pilot program was the way to go.

A slim majority of 54 percent, however, oppose following the lead of the states of Colorado and Washington and legalizing marijuana for recreational use; 41 percent supported such a move.

"Voters under 35 say yes, as do a bare majority of men. Democrats and independents are closely divided but Republicans are a strong no," Siena College pollster Steven Greenberg said in a statement. "New Yorkers are not yet ready to duplicate what they see in the Mile High City."

Cuomo announced the plan in his annual State of the State address earlier this month, saying that he would allow up to 20 hospitals to prescribe medical marijuana to help manage the pain and to help treat cancer and other serious illnesses.

He said he would use an executive power to set up the program, and that it would not need new legislation.

Siena College spoke to 808 people registered as voters in New York last week for the poll, which had a margin of error of 3.4 percent.

(Reporting By Jonathan Allen; Editing by Bernard Orr)

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