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Poll: 88 Percent Of New Yorkers Support Medical Marijuana

ALBANY, N.Y. (CBSNewYork/AP) -- A new poll finds 88 percent of New York voters support the legalization of marijuana for medical use, and 57 percent also favor legalizing recreational use.

The Quinnipiac University poll released Monday finds only 9 percent oppose legalizing medical marijuana.

Maurice Carroll, director of the poll, said a narrow majority doubt that legalizing marijuana will lead to harder drug use, and about half say marijuana is no worse than alcohol.

"Medical marijuana is a no-brainer for New York State voters, and they also would follow Colorado in legalizing marijuana for fun. But a slim plurality don't think legalization has been good for Colorado's reputation," Carroll stated.

The poll surveyed 1,488 New York voters by phone on Feb. 6-10 and has a margin of error of plus or minus 2.5 percentage points.

"If it's alleviating someone's pain I say why not?" Michelle Pena told CBS 2's John Slattery.

Some New Yorkers even told CBS 2's Slattery that they would support legalization for recreational use.

"If you're doing it in your own home it's okay. You are not disturbing anybody," Julio Rivera said.

Others disagreed.

"I don't like that whatsoever it's addictive, it's illegal, it gets in the wrong hands," Toussaint Louis said.

Medical experts urged caution and said that marijuana use could lead to harder drugs.

"If alcohol is bad that ship has sailed, and alcohol is a bad drug but that has nothing to do with marijuana. Marijuana is a completely separate drug and is bad in it's own way," Dr. Harris Straytner explained.

Gov. Andrew Cuomo has said he'll launch a limited hospital-based medical marijuana program. Sen. Liz Krueger has introduced a full legalization bill, which the Cuomo administration opposes.

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(TM and © Copyright 2014 CBS Radio Inc. and its relevant subsidiaries. CBS RADIO and EYE Logo TM and Copyright 2014 CBS Broadcasting Inc. Used under license. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed. The Associated Press contributed to this report.)

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